In an interview with MSNBC, Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA) defended Donald Trump’s Wednesday morning Twitter attacks on Senator Lisa Murkowski saying that, “Somebody needs to go over to the Senate and snatch a knot in their ass.” (For those of you who are not fluent in the lingo of the deep south, to “snatch a knot” means to smack someone).
“I think it’s perfectly fair,” Carter said about Trump’s Wednesday morning tweets about the Alaska Senator. “I’m telling you, it has gotten to the point where how can you say I voted for this last year, but I’m not going to vote for it this year,” Carter added as he expressed frustration over the Senate’s inability to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
Murkowski has been one of the few Republicans who has openly criticized the three Republican health care bills that the Senate will vote on this week. Yesterday, Murkowski voted against the motion to proceed, which allowed debate and votes on all three bills under consideration to go forward. On Tuesday night, she voted “no” on an amendment process that effectively killed the BCRA. Seven other Republicans joined Murkowski in that “no” vote and the bill fell well short of the required 60 votes. On Wednesday afternoon, she added another “no” vote to her roster when she voted against the so-called “clean” repeal of Obamacare, a version of which passed the chamber in 2015. The Obamacare repeal also failed to pass the Senate.
Murkowski’s votes were central in dooming both of the terrible bills, though she was not alone. Indeed, plenty of her male colleagues cast “no” votes on Tuesday night’s BCRA vote, including Tom Cotton, but Carter and Trump unsurprisingly decided to single Murkowski out for public derision.
“Senator Lisa Murkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!” Trump tweeted this morning. Murkowski has little to fear from Republican leadership for defying them on the health care votes. In 2010, Murkowski lost her primary to a Tea Party challenger who was supported by the then-GOP leadership. Without either their help or endorsement, she managed to win a write-in campaign. In an interview today, Murkowski said that she wasn’t concerned with a 2022 primary challenge. “Quite honestly, I don’t think it’s wise to be operating on a daily basis thinking about what, a statement or a response, that causes you to be fearful of your electoral prospects,” Murkowski said in response to Trump’s tweets.
What’s increasingly clear is how little Republicans think of their female colleagues who are, for a variety of reasons, unwilling to vote for either the BCRA or the Obamacare repeal (it’s unclear where they stand on the misleadingly named “skinny repeal”). Earlier this week another Republican Representative, Blake Farenthold (R-TX) blamed the Senate health care mess on “three female senators”—a group that included Murkowski—and suggested that if they were men, he would challenge them to a duel.
Surely there are better ways to cajole your colleagues into voting for bills that would leave millions of Americans without insurance than by leveling folksy threats of violence. It seems, however, to be the public narrative that House conservatives find most appealing.