Trump and Dunleavy

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, right, talks to President Trump aboard Air Force 1 in this June 2019 file photo. Trump this morning tweeted his support for Dunleavy, who is facing a recall. Official White House Photo by Sheila Craighead

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday morning to defend Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, backing Dunleavy's fight against a growing effort to recall him from office. 

"My friend Mike @GovDunleavy of the Great State of Alaska, is being treated very unfairly by the Democrats because he is doing an unbelievable job and fulfilling every one of his promises," Trump posted to his Twitter account. "Now they are trying to Recall him because his agenda is the Economy, Jobs, and protecting our Military, 2nd Amendment, Energy, and so many other things that the Democrats don’t care about. Please stop the Dems from hurting a very good and hard-working man!


The governor has been on the East Coast this week meeting with a number of national media outlets. He also met with Alaska Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, according to the senators' offices.

Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner categorized the governor's travels as a "personal trip" and would not provide additional information on the nature of his travel or where he was. Turner later clarified that no state funds were used for the governor's trip.

The governor's office declined to comment on the show of support from the president. 

However, Dunleavy met with Trump during a "long" visit in the Oval Office Wednesday morning, according to conservative political blogger Suzanne Downing, who runs the website Must Read Alaska.

Dunleavy reportedly spoke to Downing on Wednesday morning, telling her the president "supports Alaskans, our economy, our troopers, our military personnel ... our resource development and jobs."

In his Wednesday Twitter posts, Trump called the recall the work of the Democrats. However, Recall Dunleavy spokeswoman Claire Pywell criticized the characterization, noting the recall effort is largely considered to be nonpartisan. 

"We're not surprised that Dunleavy, and now national folks, are lying about our makeup and mischaracterizing our support," Pywell told the Daily News-Miner Wednesday. "I mean, tell that to people like Joe Usibelli Sr. –– folks who are absolutely on the train not only because it's a nonpartisan issue but because it's an issue for all Alaskans."

Usibelli is the Republican owner of Alaska's largest coal mine and also one of the central sponsors of the recall effort.

Pywell said Dunleavy is "once again proving he's the wrong man for the job because now he's saying things that aren't even true," adding that she feels Trump's assertion that Dunleavy supports a strong Alaska economy is also false. 

"No, that's exactly why we're here. We cannot stand the idea of another three years of this governor precisely because he's threatening irreparable harm to our economy," she said.

The Recall Dunleavy effort turned in just over 49,000 signatures last month, more than 20,000 more than the group needed to clear the first hurdle in the multi-step recall effort. 

Pywell said the group is set to hear whether its 200-word legal brief outlining reasons for recall will be approved or rejected by Attorney General Kevin Clarkson as early as Monday.

If Clarkson approves the reasoning, the recall group will then have to collect more than 71,000 new signatures in order to trigger a special election. In the likely instance that Clarkson rejects the reasoning, Pywell noted, the group is prepared to appeal the decision in Superior Court.

The president's support on Twitter is not the first time Dunleavy has stepped into the national light via the social media platform this week.

The governor became involved in a Twitter argument between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and conservative political commentator Philip Wegmann on Monday in which Dunleavy –– and Wegmann –– slammed Ocasio-Cortez's push for the Green New Deal, an overhaul of the country's energy regulations to shift the U.S away from fossil fuel reliance.

Dunleavy's tweet was made in response to a series of tweets between Ocasio-Cortez and Wegmann in which Wegmann told Ocasio-Cortez that her Green New Deal would damage Alaska. 

"What happens to Alaska if @AOC's Green New Deal becomes real? @GovDunleavy says, 'it would impact our civilization as we know it'," Wegmann posted.

"That's kind of the point," Ocasio-Cortez responded. 

Dunleavy then replied to Ocasio-Cortez's response, telling her the "Green New Deal would destroy Alaska's economy," inviting the freshman representative to visit Alaska so he can "personally show [her] how we responsible develop American's natural resources better than anyone."

Dunleavy's office would not confirm when the governor plans to return to Alaska nor who is running the state in his absence. 

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the president's Twitter activity. 

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.