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PA-Sen: Toomey Challenges Trump

ToomeySenator Pat Toomey was in a great position.

A Republican incumbent forced to run in a blue state during a presidential election year, he had done an extraordinary job of making a name for himself.

He employed a smart strategy of leading the bipartisan effort for gun safety measures while also being the passionate voice for the nation’s police officers.

As a result, he lead in the polls against all three of the potential Democratic challengers who spent months and millions of dollars in intra-party warfare.

Everything seemed to be going perfectly as Toomey sought a second term.

Then, Donald Trump became the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican party.

Suddenly, Toomey must balance his pursuit of ballot-crossing Democrats with the need to maintain the GOP base. Now, the man who has taken such pains to be seen as independent is in danger of seeing his race become nationalized.

In response to this conundrum, the Senator has written a fascinating editorial for the Philadelphia Inquirer about his own support for (and reservations about) Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump has dominated the political discussion for the better part of the last year,” Toomey begins. “While I would prefer to focus on my work in the U.S. Senate, and on my own campaign for reelection, there is an unlimited interest in all-things Trump, so I’ll offer a few thoughts about the presidential race.”

He goes on to mention that he endorsed Marco Rubio and voted for Ted Cruz, while also listing all the problems he has with Hillary Clinton.

“Trump was not my first, second, or third choice,” Toomey wrote, which is a statement he has used before and is likely to use many more times this year. “I object to much in his manner and his policies. His vulgarity, particularly toward women, is appalling. His lack of appreciation for Constitutional limits on executive powers is deeply concerning. I disagree with his proposals to ban Muslims, to give government more eminent domain powers, to be neutral between Israel and its enemies, and several others. In short, I find his candidacy highly problematic.”

Sen. Toomey then explains that he will support Trump as the nominee of his party while pointing out that he has also disagreed with past nominees over certain issues.

“That said, Trump is different from previous nominees,” he explained. “There could come a point at which the differences are so great as to be irreconcilable.”

This is a particularly skillful move by the Senator as it allows him to distance himself should Donald Trump become politically toxic over the next six months. Toomey also called for Trump to unite the Grand Old Party, which may have been a response to the New Yorker’s recent comments.

The Senator finished by challenging Trump to listen and learn from this criticism.

“Finally, rather than attacking those who speak a contrary word about you or your positions, consider the value of constructive advice,” the Senator concludes. “Many of your critics are nothing more than political opponents who want your defeat. But some of your critics actually share the deep frustration with the direction of our country and our political class that has propelled your candidacy. Sometimes your critics might have a point. If you listen more, and talk less, you might even win some of them over. You will have to in order to be successful.”

UPDATE: In an interview with 790 WAEB, Toomey elaborately on his op-ed.

“Would he govern as a conservative?,” the Senator asked. “I’ve got doubts. He’s advocated a complete government takeover of healthcare, expanding government power over eminent domain, that we should be neutral as between Israel and Israel’s enemies. He’s called for higher taxes, it seems, for raising the minimum wage. Over the weekend, renegotiating our national debt. I don’t know what that means.”

Sen. Toomey even indicated that there may come a time when he’ll have to withdraw his support from the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee.

“So I’ve got this set of doubts,” Toomey stated. “My message to Donald Trump is: You need to unite the Republican Party if we’re gonna win this general election. I hope to get to the point where I can enthusiastically support Donald Trump. I’m not there right now and I hope we don’t get to a point where I decide I just can’t support him.”

23 Responses

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  2. “Toomey Challenges Trump” is a little misleading.

    He is a garden gnome. He could challenge a stray cat … but would probably lose. What a pathetic excuse for a US Senator. Can’t wait til he’s gone.

  3. Toomey has had the problem with talking the talk and walking the walk. Why should this contradictory statement about Trump be different. Of course Toomey wouldn’t like Trump because his his biggest supporters the Koch Brothers hate Trump. Toomey’s biggest skill is obstruction. So he can’t obstruct Trump. Toomey has to pick his strategy carefully. That is going to be a problem when obstruction is your main strength . Making decisions not so good.

  4. Donald Trump is “competitive” in the swing states where the presidential election will be decided. And, Donald Trump has not even begun to fight.

    May 10, 2016 – Clinton-Trump Close In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll Finds

    FLORIDA: Clinton 43 – Trump 42; Sanders 44 – Trump 42
    OHIO: Clinton 39 – Trump 43; Sanders 43 – Trump 41
    PENNSYLVANIA: Clinton 43 – Trump 42; Sanders 47 – Trump 41

  5. The letter is no more than all the other too-little, too late bemoanings of what is now being called a gag, or a mistake or a misunderstanding.

    Trump is none of the above.

    Trump is not a nightmare. He’s a mirror. A flawless, mirrored image of decades of ideology. Watch it imploding on its fruition, as its proponents now ask those outside their little coven to buy into its hatred.

    His hateful mess of a campaign – wildly popular among the GOP Primary electorate – demonstrates this. Almost nothing in it is applicable to the world we live in, or the wishes of 50.0001% of the pathetically small percentage of Americans who are likely to even show up to vote.

    Unfortunately, if we Dems don’t send our best candidate, Bernie Sanders forward, Trump could win. This race will be tight, and both Trump and Clinton are documented to be extremely unpopular among the American electorate as a whole…even as both are popular among a plurality of their isolated Primary electorate.

  6. Brian – It will be ABUNDANTLY clear what Pennsylvanians want. And it ain’t Donald Drumpf.

  7. I would respectfully remind the Senator that Donald Trump won all 67 counties in the Commonwealth, all of them. It is pretty clear what Pennsylvania citizens want. Run against your opponent on your record and hers. Backbone is admired in Pennsylvania. We had one Arlan Specter, we don’t need another.

  8. Toomey better get behind Trump soon … and give him a reach-around while he’s at it.

  9. And yet, Pat Toomey thinks Donald Trump should get to fill Scalia’s seat. No one should be fooled by this: Toomey is in the tank for Trump.

  10. Enough with the political double-speak, Senator Toomey. It’s very simple: either you are with Trump or you are not. Every voter has to make that decision and so do you.

    Bottom line: With your responses to date, you have already failed the leadership and trustworthiness test. You haven’t yet figured out what you think of Donald Trump? Spare me!

    Voters know BS when they see it and we’re calling BS on this one.

  11. Since when is waffling and tying yourself in knots considered a “particularly skillful political move”?

  12. I can see the McGinty ad:

    Pat Toomey says about Trump: “I object to much in his manner and his policies. His vulgarity, particularly toward women, is appalling. His lack of appreciation for Constitutional limits on executive powers is deeply concerning.”

    But, he’s supporting him anyway ??? It’s time for Pat Toomey to go.


  13. Calling this “a particularly skillful move” is nonsense. As long as Toomey does not explicitly reject Trump, he will NEVER be allowed to distance himself. Toomey is saying that Trump’s “highly problematic candidacy” – that includes misogyny, xenophobia, and racism are not disqualifying attributes – and that he will support him as the presumptive Republican nominee. Democrats will hang this around Toomey’s neck like a millstone. He can’t escape that no matter how “skillful” he obfuscates. Toomey knows it too.

  14. Smart, passionate, and skillful are not adjectives anyone should ever apply to Toomey.

  15. Might not have been Toomey’s first, second or third choice. But he’s Toomey’s final choice. Once the endorsement makes a difference — voting in the general election for president.

  16. Hope for Toomey’s sake that there is no barbed wire on that fence he is straddling.

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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