Pennsylvania GOP official on Toomey: “We did not send him there to ‘do the right thing’” | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pennsylvania GOP official on Toomey: “We did not send him there to ‘do the right thing’”

click to enlarge Pennsylvania GOP official on Toomey: “We did not send him there to ‘do the right thing’”
CP photo: Ryan Deto
Sen. Pat Toomey
Shortly after Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh) voted to convict Donald Trump over his actions related to encouraging a violent mob to storm the U.S. Capitol, several Republicans in Pennsylvania started to turn on the conservative senator. Republican Party groups in York and Lawrence counties censured Toomey earlier in the week, and another Republican Party group in the Pittsburgh-area voted to do the same yesterday.

Censuring a politician is an official rebuke, and while it does not lead to any other punishment, it provides a public record disapproving of an official's actions.

Washington County GOP chair Dave Ball told KDKA that his county party censured Toomey because he didn't believe Toomey “was straight forward with us.” Ball also told KDKA that GOP members believed the vote to convict Trump, whose tweets were cited as direct motivation to storm the Capitol by some extremist groups, was not representative of their values.

“We did not send him there to vote his conscience,” said Ball during the TV interview. “We did not send him there to ‘do the right thing’ or whatever he said he was doing. We sent him there to represent us.”

The Westmoreland County GOP also indicated the group will be holding a vote whether or not to censure Toomey. Allegheny County GOP chair Sam DeMarco said he didn’t agree with Toomey’s vote, but that he doesn’t agree with any censure of the senator.

“Republicans need to be focused on the here and now and the future, as opposed to Toomey’s vote which, in the end, didn’t matter,” DeMarco told the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Toomey is one of the most conservative senators in Washington. He voted in line with Trump’s positions 85% of the time when Trump was in office. Toomey was the key author of the Republican tax cut bill, one of the few of the Trump administration’s major legislative accomplishments.

The Pennsylvania state Republican Party is also considering a vote to censure Toomey, according to the Associated Press.

These flurry of censures come at a time when Pittsburgh-area Republican U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Peters) is claiming that the Republican Party is open to different opinions and open debate.

“The Republican Party is ascending. We are the big tent party where it is OK to hold different ideas and viewpoints,” said Reschenthaler on the right-wing TV network Newsmax on Feb. 14, the day before several Pennsylvania Republican groups voted to censure Toomey. “We will never be the party of litmus tests or cancel culture. We are the party that encourages differing ideas and promotes robust debate.”