In case you missed it, the Alaska Dispatch News is reporting this morning that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke threatened “retribution” against Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (both Republicans) over Murkowski’s votes on health care legislation. From the Dispatch:
Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski’s vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.
The response follows Trump’s no-holds-barred style of governing, even when it comes to his own party. It is his first strike of retaliation against Murkowski, however, despite her tendency to stray from the party line and the president’s priorities.
Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the call from Zinke heralded a “troubling message.”
Secretary Zinke has refused to comment on the situation since the news broke. As he tours New Mexico today, some important questions for Secretary Zinke remain:
1. Did President Trump or anyone from the White House ask you to make these calls?
2. What specific actions are you considering taking?
3. How will this impact your national monuments review?
4. How did the Senators respond to your call?
5. Have you attempted to extract promises from Senators and/or Governors in other states for action on other national monuments?
“This kind of action is absolutely unacceptable and should be immediately examined by the Inspector General and the Department of Justice,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “Threatening retribution against an entire state is swamp politics at its worst and sets a dangerous precedent. Secretary Zinke must answer questions immediately as to why he made these threats and what it means for Alaska and any other states that may rub him the wrong way.”