The Alaska Dispatch News reported Thursday that the chief called Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and complained that Murkowski’s vote against proceeding on legislation to repeal “Obamacare” had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.
WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Alaska’s two Republican senators to warn them of repercussions for the nation’s largest state if they failed to toe the Trump administration line on health care, according to a published report.
The Alaska Dispatch News reported Thursday that Zinke called Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and complained that Murkowski’s vote against proceeding on legislation to repeal “Obamacare” had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy. Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie to advance the measure earlier this week.
Sullivan told the newspaper that the call from Zinke heralded a “troubling message.” Questioned by reporters on Thursday, Sullivan declined to discuss his conversations with administration officials.
Murkowski confirmed that she received a call from Zinke, but said she did not perceive the call as a threat against her or Alaska.
Most Read Stories
“He was just sharing the concern that the president expressed to him to pass on to me,” Murkowski said Thursday. She and Zinke, a former Montana congressman, have a “cordial, respectful and friendly relationship,” Murkowski added. “I don’t think that will change one bit.”
The Interior Department and the White House had no comment on the report.
The notion of a Cabinet official warning senators of retribution over health care is highly unusual, even as Trump has lashed out at GOP members of Congress for balking at his policies. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted at Murkowski: “Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down…