Handful of GOP senators to skip Trump coronation at RNC – Washington Examiner

Senate Republicans are looking to present a united front at the national convention next week, even as a small faction of the conference in the upper chamber is not planning to attend.

A number of GOP senators who have either openly feuded with former President Donald Trump or have not been his biggest fans confirmed they will not be attending the four-day event in Milwaukee, aimed at firing up the party’s base in the final stretch to the Nov. 5 presidential election. Several senators cited scheduling conflicts and logistical hurdles. 


Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) told the Washington Examiner they do not plan on traveling to the convention.

Murkowski, who initially endorsed former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in March and has been vocally against Trump’s bid, said she won’t be attending and is likely not welcome at the political gathering.

“I’ve got other engagements that are lined up, so no,” Murkowski said, responding to a question from the Washington Examiner.

The Alaska senator clashed with Trump during his presidency and was the first Republican senator to call for his resignation after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. She later voted to impeach him.

“I’m disappointed that we don’t have better choices as a country when it comes to our presidential election,” she added.

Collins, who also voted to convict Trump on the impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection in 2021, said she won’t be attending, citing a busy schedule in Maine.

“I didn’t go to the last Republican Convention either; it’s been a number of years,” she said, sidestepping a question about whether her absence has to do with her refusal to endorse Trump’s presidential bid. “I always go to my state convention,” she added.

Meanwhile, Cassidy, another senator who voted to convict Trump, told the Washington Examiner that he would not be attending because he has “limited time” to spend with his family and in his district.

Rounds said he has no plans to attend but indicated he could be open to making a last-minute decision to go if he’s excited about Trump’s running mate:

“If it was a matter of coming in to help endorse and support a member and so forth — but right now we don’t know who that member is — so at this point, I haven’t got any hotel rooms yet.” 

“I would have loved to see Tim Scott as the vice president; if he was the vice presidential nominee, that would have made me very pleased. But, right now we’ve got a number of other very good candidates. I’m not sure why there’s a reason I should be there rather than back home in my state,” he added.

Young said he has travel plans next week, but did not divulge what exactly they were, while Romney was never expected to attend after he voted twice to convict Trump in his impeachment trials. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is attending the convention, downplayed the fact some of his colleagues won’t be in the Badger State next week.

“Whether or not you go to the convention or not, wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that they don’t support Trump, that has to do with other things,” Grassley said.

During the 2016 convention in Cleveland, more than 20 Senate Republicans skipped the convention. In 2020, the convention was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was relocated to Washington D.C. 

This time around, Senate Republican leadership plans to be out in full force, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who endorsed the former president in early March after it was clear the Republican primary had concluded. The two have put aside their frosty relationship, which intensified after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. 


Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), who will be attending the convention, believes Trump smoothed over tensions with a number of his foes on Capitol Hill during a visit in early June to unify the party.

“I was quite encouraged by when Donald Trump came to Capitol Hill, House Republicans, Senate Republicans — I was encouraged by the people that were there. I think there’s a uniting factor, it’s happening,” Cramer said.

David Sivak contributed to this report.