Hey hey, ho ho, “Murkowski has got to go!”
Donald Trump ramped up his post-White House revenge tour with the formal endorsement of a Republican primary challenger to Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict the former president after he was impeached over the US Capitol riot.
The Trumpian endorsement of Kelly Tshibaka for an Alaska Senate seat on Friday comes ahead of a planned 26 June rally in Cleveland to support a challenger to congressman Anthony Gonzales, who voted to impeach in the House.
From the “Desk of Donald Trump”, the statement by Mr Trump said Ms Murkowski “is bad for Alaska” and cited her vote to confirm Joe Biden’s interior secretary as costing Alaska jobs – though he made no mention of her impeachment vote.
“Murkowski has got to go! Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski – and she will. Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First, ” Mr Trump wrote.
He said he “looked forward to campaigning in Alaska” for Ms Tshibaka, despite reports in The Washington Post that Mr Trump wouldn’t travel to the state, or be a potent force in the campaign, because of the long flight he’d likely avoid.
Ms Murkowski is near the top of Mr Trump’s list of “grandstanders” he wants out of the party for the 2022 midterm elections, who he called out at his first post-White House appearance during the Conservative Political Action Conference on 28 February.
They included Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, and Pat Toomey in the Senate, and Tom Rice, Adam Kinzinger, Dan Newhouse, Fred Upton, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Peter Meyer, John Katko, and David Valadao in the House.
“And of course the warmonger, a person that loves seeing our troops fighting, Liz Cheney,” Mr Trump said. “The good news is in her state, she’s been censured, and in her state, her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being I’ve ever seen. So hopefully they’ll get rid of her with the next election. Get rid of them all.”
The revenge focus on getting “rid of them all” rather than cultivating new projects, protecting policies and supporting the GOP is frustrating his close allies and Republican officials, according to a report in the Post.
The outlet cited 13 former White House officials, Republicans, aides, and allies, with one saying Mr Trump’s thinking about the 2022 midterms was all about “what’s in it for me?”
What’s in it for Mr Trump’s “complete and total endorsement” of Ms Tshibaka, the former Alaska Commissioner of Administration, is the support and continuation of his agenda.
“She is MAGA all the way, pro-energy, strong on the Border, tough on Crime and totally supports our Military and our great Vets,” Mr Trump wrote. “Kelly is a powerful supporter of the Second Amendment and JOBS!”
Ms Tshibaka is the first major primary challenger to Ms Murkowski, who the Biden administration has focused on wooing to cross the aisle in advance of the Democrat agenda in an evenly split Senate.
Ms Tshibaka said on Twitter she was “honoured and grateful” to have Mr Trump’s endorsement, adding in a statement it would be the difference in defeating the incumbent.
“To have his strong endorsement is great news for our campaign and even better news for the people of Alaska, because it means we will be getting our Senate seat back from Lisa Murkowski,” she said in a statement to The Hill.