With familiar bluster, the Trump administration is trying to punish Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski for voting against Obamacare repeal. As the Alaska Dispatch News reported on Wednesday, “each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.” The report goes on to note:
It is his first strike of retaliation against Murkowski, however, despite her tendency to stray from the party line and the president’s priorities.
Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the call from Zinke heralded a “troubling message.”
“I’m not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop,” Sullivan said.
The problem with this tactic is that it assumes that American senators have no way to fight back against an administration that wants to humiliate them. Murkowski’s own response was swift. This morning, hearings to confirm nominees to Zinke’s department were delayed. And NBC News’ Kasie Hunt notes that Murkowski, as chair of the Appropriation Subcommittee, has power over funds allocated to Zinke’s department. If the White House takes shots at Republican senators, it had better be ready for a war.