(USA Features) Former President Donald Trump has thrown his support behind a Republican challenger to GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski after the long-serving Alaska lawmaker voted to impeach him earlier this year following the Jan. 6 Capitol protest.
In a statement, Trump backed Kelly Tshibaka, the former state commissioner of administration, while calling three-term Murkowski “bad for Alaska.”
“Murkowski has got to go!” he wrote.
“Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski — and she will. Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First,” he continued.
“She is MAGA all the way, pro-energy, strong on the Border, tough on Crime and totally supports our Military and our great Vets,” the former president added.
The former president also ripped Murkowski for voting to confirm Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior in March, which he said was “a vote to kill long sought for, and approved, ANWR, and Alaska jobs” — acronym for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Trump approved oil and gas production in the region, but President Joe Biden, via executive order, recently reversed Trump’s order.
Trump has also signaled he is willing to travel to Alaska and campaign for Tshibaka.
“I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator,” he told Politico in March.
Following the Capitol protest, Murkowski publicly blamed Trump and called on him to step down ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of Biden.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” she told the Anchorage Daily News in January.
In an April interview with The Washington Examiner, Tshibaka also said that during his campaign, Biden made it clear he sought to close off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And though she understood how important the oil fields in the refuge were to the state, Murkowski nevertheless helped Biden by turning her back on Trump.
“She picked a needless fight with Donald Trump. His policies were really good for Alaska. He opened up oil and gas jobs for us,” she told the outlet.
“He reduced taxes for us. He supported our military. We have a strong military presence up here, and he rebuilt the military, and her impeachment vote made a lot of people angry in Alaska,” Tshibaka added.
According to pollsters Cygnal, which fivethirtyeight.com has assigned a B-plus rating, Tshibaka led Murkowski 34-19%, nearly double digits, in early April.