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OPINION: Murkowski, Sullivan abandon Trump. What took them so long?

October 14th, 2016 | Dermot Cole, Alaska Dispatch News Print this article   Email this article  

On a day when the Republican chairman of the Donald Trump campaign in Alaska was whining in Fairbanks about all the terrible things being said about the GOP nominee, Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan prepared to abandon ship because of Trump's own words.

What took them so long?

Trump promoter Jim Crawford, who leads the Trump campaign in Alaska with backing from notables such as Jerry Prevo, Rep. Mike Chenault, Sen. John Coghill, Sen. Lesil McGuire, Sen. Charlie Huggins, former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former Sen. Drue Pearce and others — told Fairbanks Republicans about the virtues of Trump during a midday session.

"He's got the right philosophy," Crawford told Fairbanks Republicans Friday, at about the same time that a Trump recording from 2005 revealed yet again what the man is really like.

"And when you're a star, they let you do it," the 59-year-old Trump said 11 years ago of his philosophy toward groping women, on a video published by The Washington Post. "You can do anything. Grab 'em by the p—-y. You can do anything."

Crawford, in a speech covered by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, said people in the media keep trying to con Americans into thinking that the 70-year-old Trump is not fit for the White House.

Crawford doesn't understand that Trump needs no help in demonstrating that he is tabloid material, not presidential material.

Crawford and anyone who remains on the high-powered Trump for Alaska committee should think about their daughters, wives and mothers and their backing of Trump. He's got the right philosophy, doesn't he?

About our U.S. senators and Trump:

For many months Murkowski and Sullivan were reluctant cheerleaders, saying that anyone with a pulse would be preferable to Hillary Clinton.

They did take issue with some of his more outrageous remarks. It was only after being asked four times on TV about whether a racist statement by Trump was racist that Sullivan said yes.

Sullivan said he supported Trump but had not endorsed him.

In May, Murkowski issued a statement that sounded like support, and she also said it was not an endorsement: "I have always supported the Republican nominee for president. Elections are about choices and while Hillary Clinton is not my choice — with her clear record against Alaska's priorities — Donald Trump has made numerous inappropriate statements in the past that are troubling. Now, he needs to shift his focus to unite Republicans around conservative policies that will bring economic growth and prosperity back to our nation.", in its May summary of politicians with positions on Trump, classified her as "supporting without sounding happy about it."

Margaret Stock, who is running against Murkowski as an independent, said the incumbent was supporting Trump, yet hiding behind vague comments.

"As an independent not bound by party rules and allegiances, I have found it remarkable that Trump's statements and actions did not end his candidacy many months ago," Stock wrote on July 19.

On July 22, KYUK in Bethel said that when asked if she was supporting Trump, Murkowski said: "What I have said, and I've tried to be very clear with my statement, is that historically in every presidential race since I first voted, when I cast my vote for Ronald Reagan, I've always been able to support the Republican nominee. I have also stated that I am not a fan of Donald Trump, but I also know that Hillary Clinton is not good for the State of Alaska with the views that she has clearly articulated as they relate to our energy opportunities. There are several more months remaining before this presidential election in November, and I'm going to continue to listen to the views and opinions that will be expressed and outlined. I have not endorsed Donald Trump, and I think I've made relatively clear the concerns that I have there."

Their carefully orchestrated dances with Trump — Sullivan was invited by Trump to speak for two minutes at the Republican convention and concluded with "Make America Great Again," but didn't mention his name — were due in part to a reluctance to offend Trump supporters in Alaska.

But now they are done with him.

This is the right step to take. What took them so long?

Trump established his disgraceful credentials years ago. I'm not as old as Trump but at 63 I'm getting there.

Anyone who really knows "locker-room banter" will tell you that an old man who talks about grabbing women by the vagina has no character. But this man is a star. Insulated by money and power and protected by the cult of celebrity, he gets away with it.

This is not just about his language. It's about his disrespect toward women and his appalling lack of judgement.

Columnist Dermot Cole can be reached at

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Media, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email


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