Dermot Cole

Alaskans need to hear from Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan about the growing federal crisis and the dangerous behavior of President Trump, who is acting like a bomb thrower eager to create more carnage.

“We’re going to clamp down very, very strong,” Trump told governors Monday, sounding more like a professional wrestler than a president.

“The word is ‘dominate.’ If you don’t dominate your city and your state, they’re gonna walk away with you. And we’re doing it in Washington, in DC, we’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before . . . But we’re going to have total domination.”

Trump hasn’t done a single thing to try and calm the nation. He has done everything to push the nation to the edge.

Murkowski and Sullivan should have something to say other than Happy Talk when Trump threatens to use the U.S. military against U.S. citizens. Or when a Trump defense secretary says, “dominate the battle space,” referring to American cities.

Or when the National Guard fires tear gas and rubber bullets at a peaceful crowd so Trump can walk to a church for a photo-op, followed by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and a sampling of other federal supplicants. At the church, he posed with a Bible, the book that he knows so much about, holding it above his head like a bowling trophy.

No one in his administration is trying to stop him.

Murkowski and Sullivan should denounce Trump’s actions and say that he has made the national situation far worse than it would otherwise be, demonstrating incompetence and a juvenile desire to make every national challenge about him.

If Murkowski says she is concerned and Sullivan offers something akin to his take on impeachment, “Were the President’s actions perfect? No,” then we will know they are not up to the job. If so, they might as well quit and let someone else have a turn.

The GOP senatorial pledge to look away from all of Trump’s excesses has established a powerful precedent and both Murkowski and Sullivan, who never failed to complain about federal overreach under Obama, have forgotten the phrase they once loved so much.

I’m not expecting anything from Sullivan, who never criticizes Trump and goes out of his way to feed Trump’s hunger for flattery. Sullivan sees his re-election as tied to Trump and he doesn’t want to offend the delicate ego in the White House or risk a barb delivered by Twitter.

On Tuesday, an NBC reporter asked Sullivan and many other GOP senators walking by for their weekly lunch for a comment on Trump. Sullivan walked by without responding.

Apparently the resulting publicity bothered Sullivan enough that later in the day he posted this on Twitter: “The killing of George Floyd was a shocking and sickening act. Those involved must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Racism in America unfortunately continues to exist. It is real, it is evil, and it should never be tolerated.”

It took him eight days to say something he should have said eight seconds after Floyd was murdered. And in keeping with his track record, Sullivan refused to say anything about Trump’s military overreach.

Conservative Columnist George Will wrote Monday that Trump has shown that “malignant buffoon” is not an oxymoron and “Voters must dispatch his congressional enablers, especially the senators who still gambol around his ankles with a canine hunger for petting.”

Sullivan has been in that group since shortly after he declared in 2016 that he couldn’t vote for Trump because of the disgusting comments by Trump on the Access Hollywood tape.

I’m sure that Murkowski knows that what Trump is doing is disgusting, but she hasn’t said so in public, remaining a few steps out of the fray and staying on good terms with the other Trump enablers.

On Saturday, in a belated comment on social media, Murkowski said that all of us “from local residents and authorities to the president—need to focus on de-escalating the situation in Minneapolis and tackling the issues peaceful protesters are demonstrating about across this country.”

This is no time for timidity or weasel words about Trump. And no time to continue to treat him like a misbehaving, naughty child, equating him with “local residents and authorities.”

He is not focused on de-escalating anything. His focus is on himself and trying to appear tough.

Trump has far more to do with this national nightmare than others yet Murkowski won’t say it or hold him accountable for his recklessness. She and Sullivan are among the most powerful people in the United States.

Trump has incited violence with almost every word and deed, not just with his “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” threat.

This is a dangerous and worrisome time for the country because of the rioting in the streets and the twisted presidential response.

When NBC reporter Kasie Hunt asked Murkowski Tuesday for a comment about Trump, she replied, “I did not think that what we saw last night was the America I know.” In the world of the GOP Senate, this is taken as harsh.

Murkowski told Leigh Ann Caldwell, that tone is important and “I do not believe that that the tone coming from the president right now is helping. It’s not helping me as a leader.”

She didn’t take on Trump directly, which is what the nation needs from a real leader who wants to help the nation during this critical time.

Dermot Cole can be reached at

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