Sen. Lisa Murkowski signals openness to leaving the GOP

The Alaska Republican, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, said she regrets that the GOP “is seemingly becoming a party of” Trump.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Nov. 8.Stefani Reynolds / AFP - Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, signaled that she would be open to leaving the Republican Party.

Pressed on whether she is considering becoming an independent, Murkowski replied, “I’m very independent-minded,” adding, “I just regret that our party is seemingly becoming a party of Donald Trump.”

Murkowski demurred when asked whether she would be open to being an independent who caucuses with Republicans.

“I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times. Let’s just leave it at that,” she said in an interview that aired on CNN Sunday.

The Alaska Republican also reiterated her stance against voting for Trump in the 2024 presidential election.

“I wish that as Republicans, we had a nominee that I could get behind. I certainly can’t get behind Donald Trump,” she said.

Murkowski told NBC News this month that she “could not” vote for Trump or President Joe Biden in the 2024 election.

Murkowski and fellow Trump critic Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, had endorsed Trump challenger Nikki Haley ahead of Super Tuesday. But Haley dropped her bid after losing every primary contest except Vermont and Washington, D.C.

Before Haley ended her campaign, Murkowski told NBC News that she wasn’t sure how she’d approach the presidential election if Haley dropped out — and signaled she wasn’t alone in her uncertainty.

“Lisa Murkowski is not the only one in this camp right now,” she said.

Murkowski is among the seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack and became a target for Trump and his allies.

Murkowski, who has served in the Senate for more than two decades, won re-election in 2022 against Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka, a former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner.