Alaska’s congressional delegation, from left to right, Sen. Dan Sullivan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Don Young, all Republicans. Delegates responded to criticisms of President Trump made by former Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska’s congressional delegation, from left to right, Sen. Dan Sullivan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Don Young, all Republicans. Delegates responded to criticisms of President Trump made by former Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska’s congressional delegation responds to Trump criticisms, protests

Delegates issued statesment to the Empire

All three members of Alaska’s Congressional Delegation responded to criticisms of President Trump made recently by former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

The first to do so was Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski who called Mattis’ comments, “true, and honest and necessary and overdue.”

In a statement Wednesday, Mattis said President Trump“is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort.”

Murkowski told reporters in Washington, D.C., she was “struggling” with supporting President Trump, according to the Associated Press. While Murkowski has a history of criticizing the president, Alaska’s other two delegates, Rep. Don Young and Sen. Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, have been more supportive.

In a statement, Young said:

“I support our President and want him to be successful in unifying our nation and healing our wounds. In America’s history, we have had much to overcome to achieve racial equality, and we have more work to do. In my lifetime, I have seen great leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and my colleague Congressman John Lewis do brave work to help secure equal protection under the law that our Constitution promises. It is our work to continue, both in Alaska and across the country.

“I am very proud of Alaskans who peacefully demonstrated over the suffocation of George Floyd. They respectfully exercised their First Amendment right and had their voices heard. I think this peaceful action is the best way to honor George Floyd’s memory and bring people together to make our country a better place for everyone. We can and must do better as a nation, and I’m very hopeful we will.”

[Murkowski says she’s struggling with supporting Trump]

Sullivan also provided a statement to the Empire:

“I have deep respect for Jim Mattis and his service to our nation. I agree with all calls for unity at this time, and have been emphasizing the same. While I would urge the president to try to strike a unifying tone and message during these challenging times, the blame game and finger pointing on issues of race in America are not constructive, particularly now. As my former boss Condoleezza Rice wrote in a very powerful op-ed in today’s Washington Post, ‘If we are to make progress, let us vow to check the language of recrimination at the door.’ Now is the time when we need to listen to each other, learn, and then take appropriate action together.”

In an email, Sullivan spokesperson Mike Anderson said the senator doesn’t favor deploying active duty troops in response to protests, unless a governor has requested them.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.

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