Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s potential GOP censure shows how Trump still owns the Republican Party
Toomey was one of seven Republican senators to side with Democrats in voting to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.
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“We did not send him there to vote his conscience. We did not send him there to ‘do the right thing’ or whatever.”
These were the words of Dave Ball, the chair of the GOP in Washington County, Pennsylvania, located in the southwest corner of the state on the border with West Virginia.
Ball was speaking with CBS Pittsburgh in reaction to the vote of Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey during the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Toomey was one of seven Republican Senators to vote with Democrats to convict the former president for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, including one Capitol police officer.
The senator called the president’s actions on the day and following the 2020 election a “betrayal of the Constitution.”
He said Trump should be “celebrated for a lot of the accomplishments he deserves credit for,” but lamented his actions following the election to overturn its results and remain in power.
“Those things can be true and it can also be true that his behavior after the election became completely unacceptable,” said Toomey.
Even with his and six other Republican senators’ support, the Senate did not reach its two-thirds requirement for a conviction and Trump was acquitted.
It put on display how GOP support still stands firm behind Trump, and in the days following the trial’s conclusion, that’s been further cemented by state and county GOP parties.
For his vote to convict Trump, Toomey potentially faces censure from the Pennsylvania GOP. Resolutions to censure him have already come from at least five GOP county parties in the state, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Censures are formal votes of disapproval or disavowal of a lawmaker’s decisions or actions. They carry more symbolic consequences than they usually do any material punishment.
There are plans in most Western PA counties and those within its conservative “T” to also issue censures against Toomey.
Lawrence Tabas, the Republican Party chairman of PA, is said to soon call meetings with party committee members to “address and consider actions related to the impeachment vote.”
The Inquirer further reported that there is a growing push within the statewide party to censure Toomey.
If it happens, Toomey will not be the only Republican that voted to convict Trump to face censure.
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr has already been voted to be censured by the state’s Republican Party after it held an emergency meeting on Monday, Feb. 15.
Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy faced censure from his state party just hours after the impeachment vote concluded on Saturday, Feb. 13 in a unanimous vote.
Business Insider reported that six of the seven Republicans are facing backlash in their states for their votes against Trump.
In Utah, a petition is circling to censure Senator Mitt Romney, and Republican activists have also been calling for a censure of Senator Ben Sasse since before the impeachment trial. Senator Susan Collins’ fate will be decided in an “upcoming” emergency committee meeting surrounding her vote to convict Trump.
Most of the senators that voted to convict Trump will face staunch challenges with no party support in primaries either in 2022 or 2024.
Toomey announced his current term would be his last on Oct. 5, 2020.
It’s opened the door for a host of candidates on both sides vying for the empty seat in 2022.
One big name that recently declared on the Democratic side is PA Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. He built a national profile for himself amid the same election cycle that would’ve likely cost Toomey his seat.