PA GOP expected to consider censure of Pat Toomey over vote to convict Trump

Several Republican county committees across the commonwealth have issued censure resolutions against Toomey for his vote to convict former President Donald Trump at the end of his second impeachment trial.

Now, the state GOP committee is scheduled to meet virtually Wednesday evening to possibly formally censure Toomey for his guilty vote, according to three counties’ chairs.

CNN has reached out to the Pennsylvania Republican Party for comment.

A formal rebuke from the state GOP party would be largely symbolic and come at little cost to Toomey, who had already announced he does not plan to run for reelection in 2022. But it would serve as the latest reminder of the enormous influence Trump continues to yield in the party, and the political cost for the few Republicans willing to publicly denounce him.

There is not a published agenda for the meeting as of yet, according to one of the county chairs, who added, “I think it safe to assume that the topic of censure will certainly come up, but I really do not know in what context.”

Lawrence County chairman Gale Measel told CNN that the “emergency meeting” was called last week and that committee members were merely advised that the meeting would be “relative to the action that occurred at the Senate” earlier this month.

Measel told CNN that Lawrence County’s executive board had voted weeks ago to censure Toomey and those who didn’t stand up for Trump during his impeachment trial.

“I hope the entire body votes to censure,” said Clarion County chairman Rick Rathfon, whose county committee was one of the first to take that action against Toomey back in February 9, the day Trump’s second impeachment trial kicked off.

At the end of Trump’s week-long Senate impeachment trial, Toomey and six other GOP senators joined with Democrats in voting to convict the former Republican president. Trump was acquitted of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the building demanding Congress stop the certification of the 2020 election.

Trump’s defense team argued that his conduct on January 6 was protected under the First Amendment and that the impeachment trial itself was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office.

But Toomey said that there was “an overwhelming body of evidence” that suggested the trial was “constitutionally permissible.”

“No president, or anyone else, has the First Amendment right to incite a violent attack on our government,” he said in explaining his vote.

GOP Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana were censured by their respective state Republican parties for their votes to convict Trump. Another Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse was already facing a censure effort by the Nebraska Republican Party, which postponed its vote until March.

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

Source: CNNPolitics – Breaking News

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