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WASHINGTON, D.C., October 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Republicans across the nation may be demanding the ouster of pro-abortion U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants her to remain in the GOP for the foreseeable future.
Murkowski was the only Senate Republican to oppose confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace retiring liberal Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. She deemed him a “good man” but not “the right person for the court at this time,” and ultimately voted “present” as a courtesy to Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, who supported Kavanaugh but had a scheduling conflict.
Murkowski was already disliked by conservatives for support of legal abortion, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood; opposition to embryo-killing research; and her role in derailing last year’s effort to repeal Obamacare, among other grievances. Her opposition to Kavanaugh was the last straw for many, leading Trump to excoriate her, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and conservative commentator Laura Ingraham to hint that they may challenge her for the GOP nomination in 2022.
Leaders of the Republican Party of Alaska following outraged constituents are currently considering whether and how to reprimand Murkowski, the Associated Press reported. State GOP chair Tuckerman Babcock told the AP such a reprimand could range from a mere statement of disapproval all the way to pulling its official support and seeking a different GOP nominee.
For her part, Murkowski responded by telling reporters she isn’t worried about the political fallout – confidence that appears to be reinforced by her majority leader.
“Well, she's certainly going to recover (…) She's about as strong as you could possibly be in Alaska,” McConnell said Wednesday, The Hill reported. “Nobody's gonna beat her. I'm proud she's in the Republican conference.” He added that Murkowski had previously voted for Justice Neil Gorsuch and Republican nominees to lower courts, and that the pro-abortion lawmaker enjoys “very good standing” in the Senate Republican Conference.
In response, Conservative Review’s Chris Pandolfo criticized McConnell for downplaying the fact that Murkowski “voted to reward and embolden the Democrats’ smear tactics,” which would have done “historic harm to the Senate confirmation process.” He also noted that McConnell “permitted her to keep her committee assignments” after she ran a write-in campaign against the more conservative GOP nominee in 2010.
Many conservatives have lavished praise on McConnell for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, with McConnell himself boasting it’s the “single most important thing I've been involved in in my career” and some even suggesting he deserves more credit than Trump himself. Others have faulted the majority leader for originally urging the president to nominate a judge more moderate than either Kavanaugh or Amy Comey Barrett, and for intervention in Alabama’s special election last year that some argue ultimately helped Democrat Doug Jones get elected, thereby decreasing the Supreme Court vote’s margin for defections.
Others fault McConnell for failing to fight for conservative budget priorities such as defunding Planned Parenthood, siding with moderate Republicans over more conservative primary challengers, and telling House pro-lifers not to send the Senate stand-alone pro-life legislation because he was unwilling to change Senate rules requiring it to get 60 votes.