In fact, all attempts to delegitimize Pennsylvania’s election results were thwarted by the courts, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans like Parnell from continuing to call the election results into question, as Trump continues to parrot similar talking points.
But this wasn’t always the case. Before Trump secured the Republican nomination in 2016, Parnell criticized Trump often and in harsh terms. He called for Trump to release his tax returns (only to criticize liberals for focusing on tax returns a year later), he said Trump’s campaign was failing to unify the country, and he criticized Trump’s debate performance, all while openly endorsing and supporting Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Florida) run for president.
Here’s a list of tweets criticizing Trump from Parnell, who announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate on May 11:
On July 18, 2015, Parnell tweeted “.@realDonaldTrump's attacks against @SenJohnMcCain are the height of arrogance & show that he has no clue what our Vietnam POWs endured.”
said he was deeply flattered and honored to receive the endorsement from Trump for his congressional race.)
Parnell criticized MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for focusing too much coverage on Trump’s tax returns, calling it “Maddow-Trump Tax madness.)
ran digital ads on Google after Parnell’s announcement saying that Parnell "sided with liberals" and linked to Parnell’s 2016 tweet when he called for Trump to release his tax returns.
Parnell campaign spokesman Ian Prior responded to those ads, and attacked the Bartos campaign.
"Digging up old out-of-context tweets reeks of desperation. But what else would you expect from someone like Jeff Bartos who has personally donated to multiple Democrats who supported impeaching President Trump and removing him from office?" said Prior in a statement to Pittsburgh City Paper.
Conor McGuinness, spokesman for the Bartos campaign, pushed back against Parnell, reiterated calls about Parnell’s former Trump criticism, and brought up other instances where Parnell “sided with liberals,” including Parnell’s past support of mail-in voting. He said “frauds like Sean Parnell are what's wrong with politics."
"Glad to see Sean Parnell is admitting his support for Act 77, the disastrous legislation that cost President Trump the state of Pennsylvania and the Presidency, and agreeing that he sided with liberals in demanding Donald Trump release his tax returns,” said McGuinness. “Jeff Bartos has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect pro-Trump Republicans. We'll gladly stack that up against Sean Parnell's effort to sabotage President Trump's re-election any day of the week.”
Even though a March poll from Franklin & Marshall College shows that Pennsylvania Republicans are close to split between Trump allies and transitional Republicans (42% to 38% respectively), Republican politicians and candidates in the commonwealth appear to be sprinting to the right in order to be seen tied to Trump.
Democrats have pointed this out, and have also called out Parnell for his past opposition to Trump, saying it shows he is duplicitous.
“The headaches continue for the Pennsylvania GOP as sore loser Sean Parnell becomes the latest candidate to join their ‘super MAGA Trump’ primary. Buckle up as this collection of failed candidates spends the next eleven months running over each other to spread conspiracy theories and sell out Pennsylvania, all in an effort to secure Trump’s coveted endorsement,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Jack Doyle in a statement on May 11.
And even now, Parnell is showcasing mixed messages, especially when encountering different audiences. During a press event for his campaign launch, when asked about his efforts to have mail-in votes discounted in the 2020 election, he told local Pittsburgh media that he didn’t “want to relitigate 2020.”
But less than two weeks later, Parnell appeared on far-right media personality and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast, and he “spoke warmly of a controversial Republican-driven review of ballots in Arizona, and backed a ‘forensic audit’ of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania,” according to WESA. There is no evidence of wide-spread voter fraud in Arizona, Pennsylvania, or any U.S. state for the 2020 election.