Trump feud with Alaska senator intensifies

The White House is escalating its public feud with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a key swing vote who helped defeat the “skinny” ObamaCare repeal plan early Friday morning.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) on Wednesday and threatened to withhold federal support for key economic development projects in the state if Murkowski didn’t line up to support the GOP’s healthcare plans.

The missive — a threat Sullivan called “troubling” in the Alaska Dispatch News — came hours after Trump publicly called out Murkowski on Twitter, saying she “really let the Republicans, and our country, down” when she voted against a measure to proceed to the healthcare bill.

Murkowski on Thursday dismissed the characterization that Zinke’s call amounted to a threat.

“What the secretary shared with me was that the president was not pleased,” she said. “I think it’s very clear based on my conversation with the secretary that he was just sharing the concern that the president had expressed to him to pass on to me.”

Murkowski said Trump called her before Zinke’s conversation, and neither talk swayed her.

“He was very direct, in terms of encouraging me to vote to proceed,” she said. “It was a difficult conversation.”

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