In his statement, Trump praised Parnell’s military service and took an apparent swipe at Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan, even though Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops while he was still in office.
“Sean Parnell is running for the United States Senate to serve the Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” wrote Trump in a statement. “Sean bravely fought for our Country as a Captain in the U.S. Army and was awarded two Bronze Stars (one for valor!) and the Purple Heart. Unlike our current administration, he never left anyone behind.”
This isn’t the first time Parnell, who is also a Fox News contributor, has been endorsed by Trump. The Ohio Township resident was endorsed several times by Trump during his unsuccessful congressional run against U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mt. Lebanon), who has been a constant target of the former president and who is also currently running for Senate in the Democratic primary. Parnell and Lamb are running to fill a seat that will be vacated by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh), who is retiring at the end of his term. CNN currently ranks Pennsylvania's senate seat as the most likely to flip from Republican to Democrat.
In his endorsement of Parnell, Trump repeated the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and even implied that the “election scam” applied to Parnell’s race as well. Parnell lost the 2020 election for Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District by about 10,000 votes. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Parnell never conceded his 2020 race to Lamb.
“Sean is a great candidate, who got robbed in his congressional run in the Crime of the Century—the 2020 Presidential Election Scam,” wrote Trump. “He will make Pennsylvania very proud and will fight for Election Integrity, Strong Borders, our Second Amendment, Energy Jobs, and so much more. Sean Parnell will always put America First. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Even though any false claims of election fraud have been thoroughly debunked, and even though rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which resulted in deaths and injuries to people (including police officers), both Trump and Parnell continue to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election. Parnell supports a controversial election audit of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election, after initially saying he didn’t. He also joined in on a now failed lawsuit challenging mail-in ballots for the state's election, even though earlier in the year he supported voters using mail-in ballots.
Parnell said in a tweet on Sept. 1 that he is “so proud” to be endorsed by Trump.
“In the Senate I’ll always fight for our America First agenda and will never back down to the radical left,” tweeted Parnell.
For months, many Republican candidates in Pennsylvania’s senate race have been vying for Trump’s endorsement. Both Parnell and candidate and businessman Jeff Bartos (R-Montgomery) have been lobbing insults at each other, and accusing each other of being too liberal and not supporting Trump enough.
Trump’s endorsement of Parnell came even though Parnell had an extensive history of insulting Trump and formerly supporting U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who ran for president in 2016 against Trump. Additionally, Parnell has attracted considerable controversy during his political runs.
In a September 2019 appearance on a Fox News program, Parnell said he thinks that progress in women’s rights is “nonsense.”
“The idea that a woman doesn’t need a man to be successful, the idea that a woman doesn’t need a man to have a baby, the idea that a woman can live a happy and fulfilling life without a man, I think it’s all nonsense,” said Parnell in 2019. (He later claimed on social media that he was joking, but only after Pittsburgh City Paper reached out to him for a comment about the Fox News appearance.)
Other Republican candidates in the Pennsylvania senate primary include Bartos, political commentator Kathy Barnette (R-Montgomery), former Montgomery County Commission candidate Sean Gale (R-Montgomery), former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands (R-Cumberland), and businessman Everett Stern (R-Philadelphia).