GOP primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka said Monday that she would not support Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead Senate Republicans if she wins her election in 2022.
Tshibaka, who is challenging Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski with the backing of former President Donald Trump, said in a statement that McConnell was responsible for repeatedly helping President Joe Biden.
“Mitch McConnell has repeatedly bailed out Joe Biden, giving him gifts of Senate votes, which are the only things keeping the Biden administration on life support,” Tshibaka said, attaching a video to her recent appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. “As an example, after rescuing Biden with the last debt ceiling increase, McConnell said he would never do it again. But he just did, and he had Lisa Murkowski’s help in doing so.”
Tshibaka singled out McConnell’s willingness to allow Democrats to raise the debt ceiling on their own instead of forcing them to attach it to their reconciliation bill, describing the fights in Congress as “political elites pitted against real Americans.”
Tshibaka’s statement mirrors those from Trump in recent days criticizing McConnell for his not threatening a nationwide debt default for political leverage. Trump has issued two statements since the weekend began slamming the Senate Republican leader, accusing him of “giving the Democrats victory on everything.”
Murkowski is running for her fourth term, but it is the first time she is on the ballot with Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting method, which allows voters to list their preferred candidates in order instead of choosing just one. The state’s senior senator has also been tough to unseat in the past; she lost her primary in 2010 only to win the general election as a write-in candidate.
In April, Tshibaka told the Washington Examiner 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.
Tshibaka also noted that Murkowski, as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, did not press then-Interior Secretary nominee Deb Haaland about Alaska’s oil leases, though the former New Mexico Democratic congresswoman has long opposed Arctic drilling.
“She didn’t ask her a single question about what her position was on the future of the oil leases and permits, and that really is determinative of what our future for oil and gas jobs are going to be. Biden has already signaled that he intends to shut down oil and gas development in Alaska,” Tshibaka said.
The Daily Caller News Foundation contributed to this report.