Congressional delegation on Trump: Meh

Donald Trump file photo by Gage Skidmore/CC 2.0
Donald Trump file photo by Gage Skidmore/CC 2.0

In this strange election year, Republican members of Congress are still lukewarm about their party’s presumptive nominee for president, Donald Trump. Among Alaska’s congressional delegation support for Trump these days is hovering between tepid and chilly.

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Alaska’s sole House member, Don Young, says he might choose himself for president, as a write-in. He could be joking about that. But Young sounds sincere when he says he’s not sure he can manage to vote for Trump.

“I don’t know. It depends what he does until the end of the election,” Young says. “If he does

U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, speaks at a Native Issues Forum in Juneau, April 5, 2016. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)
U.S. Rep. Don Young, in April. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

the correct things. I expect a lot of it will be, he’ll announce, I’m confident, who will be the cabinet members, which mean a lot. If he appoints people that I think can do the job, there’d be a strong possibility I might vote for him.”

Young says that possibility diminishes if Trump, in his view, continues to speak without thinking.

Sen. Dan Sullivan is less direct when asked how he feels about Trump. Sullivan says his attention has been on

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan talks to reporters after his annual address to the Alaska Legislature. (File photo by Skip Gray/360 North)
Sen. Dan Sullivan. (File photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

keeping the Senate in Republican hands. Also, Sullivan says the question should be how he feels about Democrat Hillary Clinton. With a little nudge, though, Sullivan talked about talking about Trump: “What I’ve said is, on issues where I disagree with Mr. Trump, whether it’s policy or statements that I think are appropriate, I will be forthright, when asked.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said last week she didn’t like Trump’s statements after the mass shooting in Orlando.

“To kind of come back and say ‘we should ban Muslims’ is not, in my view, the response to, again, a horrible, horrible tragedy,” she said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski talks with reporters during a press availability (File photo by Skip Gray, 360 North)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski. (File photo by Skip Gray, 360 North)


Asked if she still supported Trump, Murkowski sounded less than sure.

“When it comes to the presidential elections, I’ve always been able to support the Republican nominee,” she said. “The good news is that we’ve got a lot of time before – maybe that’s not good news, but we do have a lot of time before this election and before the time when we have to vote.”

All three Alaska lawmakers say they like Trump’s energy policy, as he announced it at a recent speech in North Dakota, and all three said Trump would be better for Alaska than Clinton would be. As Congressman Young put it, he’ll vote for “anybody but Hillary.”

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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