Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has warned against nominating Donald Trump’s supporters in the next primary election, speaking in a wide-ranging interview ahead of Trump’s first post-presidential rally this weekend.
Toomey has warned that following Trump’s vanguard could damage his party’s chances at the polls in elections in the middle of next year’s term, when control of both houses of Congress and dozens of governor’s palaces will be in a rage. He has represented Pennsylvania since 2010 but will not seek re-election next year.
“Are you [Trump] approves candidates based on their loyalty to him, who are not strong candidates in their right, so we can have an election in 2022 that is going to be worse than it should be, ”Toomey, a former derivatives trader and the former Republican of the powerful Senate banking committee, told the Financial Times. “Of course that then reflects very badly on him too, doesn’t it?”
Toomey’s warning went ahead of a rally that Trump planned Saturday night across the Pennsylvania border in Ohio. The former president will headline an event in the small town of Wellington supported by his “Save America” political action committee.
Trump is campaigning for Max Miller, one of his former advisers who launched a primary challenge against Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. Trump endorsed Miller, calling him a “true patriot,” while saying Gonzalez “shouldn’t represent the people of District 16 because he doesn’t represent their interests or their hearts.”
Gonzalez was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his actions. January 6th, When a crowd of his supporters stormed the Capitol and interrupted Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory certification. Trump has not ruled out running for office again in 2024.
“If it turns out that the hard-pro-Trump candidates who have been approved by Trump are running in the general election, well, it’s a pretty powerful lesson that the party will learn the hard way,” Toomey said.
The Republican party is currency on how to move forward with Trump no longer in the White House. Toomey was one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict him in his second impeachment process. Toomey told the FT that Trump was a “flawed character” who “went completely off the rails” after the November election. But he insisted he remained optimistic about the future of his party.
“We’re going through a challenging period. But I think where we end up is…[with]a republican consensus. . . who looks back and says, you know, the Trump presidency has had a lot of very important successes, like the best economy of our lives.
“I hope to get to the point where we say, OK, we had this very flawed character. But when I implemented Republican orthodoxy, it worked very well,” Toomey added, citing tax reform and deregulation as examples. “When the party can get to the point where we can recognize that, and I think we will… Then I think the party will go well.”
Toomey surprised many in Washington when he announced in October that he was not seeking re-election or running for governor in Pennsylvania. His decision – which he insisted was a personal choice, rather than a political one – set the stage for an electoral battle.
Biden won Pennsylvania, a decisive state of swing, in last year’s presidential election, raising hopes of Democrats who might be able to regain Toomey’s place in the intermediate terms next year. Eight Democrats – including Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta – have declared their candidacy, as have five Republicans.
Rana Foroohar and Edward Luce discuss major issues at the intersection of money and power in U.S. politics every Monday and Friday. Subscribe to the newsletter here