‘I can’t just be quiet right now’: Murkowski says Trump needs to resign

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Skip Gray/360 North)

Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is calling on President Trump to resign.

The violent Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday were answering his call to avenge the election results, Murkowski said. 

“People who were there to riot and who were encouraged that very morning by their president,” she said. “Yes, I think he was responsible.”

Also, she said, Trump is too preoccupied with his election loss to govern.

“If there is such chaos, if right now the president can’t focus on anything except his own anger,” she said, “then how do we assure America that we’re safe?”

Republicans who did not repudiate Trump earlier, who did not think it would get this bad, bear some responsibility, she said. She includes herself in that group.

“I allowed myself to refrain from speaking my truth,” Murkowski said. “And I can’t just be quiet right now.”

With 12 days left in his term, she said she doesn’t think it’s practical to attempt to remove the president through impeachment or the 25th Amendment.

“The Congress would be consumed with impeachment if we start that now,” she said. “How does President-elect Biden, when he becomes president on January 20, how is he able to move forward with getting his cabinet in place quickly if the Congress is continuing again, to focus all eyes, all energy on Trump?”

Murkowski was adamant that she is not considering crossing the aisle to join the new Democratic majority in the Senate.

“No. No. Absolutely unequivocally not,” she said.

She also said she is not forming a new centrist caucus, though she said she is speaking to moderates of both parties, in the House and Senate, about ways to build on the coalition they created that pressured congressional leaders to pass a coronavirus relief bill late last year.

Sen. Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young did not respond to questions asking if they support a call for the president to resign.

Trump, at a rally before the insurrection on Wednesday, had called on his supporters to march to the Capitol.

“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he said. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Murkowski said Trump and his supporters need to accept that the election is over, and that there’s no legal way to overturn Trump’s loss.

“I think it just it crossed the line for me when on that very morning, he was still encouraging his supporters to stay in the fight,” she said.

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

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