They’ve been both hailed as heroines and disparaged as defectors.
But as Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski sat side-by-side in an exclusive joint interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on Thursday, they steadfastly stood by their decisions to buck their own party’s recent push on health care.
The two women reflected on last week’s turbulent series of events and their votes that ultimately led to the suspenseful downfall of Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s always hard not to be a member of the team. There’s lots of pressure to do that,” said Collins, a four-term senator from Maine. “But in the end, I have to do what I think is right. And that’s what I did in this case.”
Ticking off a list of the pressures senators face — “repercussion from party, a tweet from the President, backlash from your leadership” — Murkowski, a three-term senator from Alaska, argued that she and her colleagues shouldn’t have to feel “motivated or discouraged” from doing what they feel is right for their respective states.
Murkowski knows firsthand the impact of a tweet from the President. A day after she and Collins were the only two senators to oppose a procedural vote on health care last week, President Donald Trump fired off a tweet singling out Murkowski, saying she “really let the Republicans, and our country, down.”
The senator said that tweet also came a day after the President personally spoke to her over the phone. Asked if she felt intimidated by their conversations, Murkowski declined to get specific. “I will…
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