Toomey Backs Sessions for Attorney General, Despite Protests

Tuesdays with Toomey

Demonstrators outside Senator Pat Toomey’s office in Center City | Photo by Jared Brey

The Tuesday-afternoon crowd outside Republican Senator Pat Toomey’s office in Center City is growing by the week.

Since the election, when Toomey beat Democratic challenger Katie McGinty as Republicans swept elections across the country, a group, mostly women, has been gathering at Toomey’s Philadelphia office to advocate for various causes. In December, they protested Toomey’s attempts to punish so-called sanctuary cities, including Philadelphia. Last week, they pressured him to vote against the confirmation of Scott Pruit, president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency. On Tuesday, they asked Toomey to oppose former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions’s appointment as U.S. Attorney General at the same time the Senate was holding his confirmation hearing. Read more »

Toomey Backs Senate Plan to Investigate Alleged Russian Hack

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Both Pennsylvania senators have called for an investigation into possible Russian interference in the presidential election last month.

Republican Pat Toomey, who himself won re-election to the Senate over challenger Katie McGinty in November, tweeted that he wants a “vigorous” investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee into allegations of email hacking by Russia.

“That bipartisan panel can get to the bottom of what the Russians did or did not do,” Toomey wrote. “If the Russian government or its agents engaged in an effort to meddle in the U.S. election, they need to face serious consequences.” Last week, the CIA reportedly told lawmakers that Russian agencies had intervened in the election with the intention of helping Donald Trump get elected.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a Senate intelligence panel would investigate. “The Russians are not our friends,” he said at a news conference. He insisted the investigation would follow “regular order.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee is in charge of the 16 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community. It consists of eight Republicans, six Democrats and independent Maine senator Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats. Read more »

Philly Jewish Group Calls for Opposition to Trump Stategist Steve Bannon

Photo by Jared Brey

Photo by Jared Brey

A group of young Jews marched through Center City Tuesday afternoon, calling on Republican Senator Pat Toomey and the Philadelphia chapter of the Jewish Federation to speak out against President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon to a senior advisory role in the White House.

Bannon is a former executive of the news site Breitbart — a “platform for the alt-right,” in Bannon’s words — who became CEO of Trump’s campaign over the summer. The alt-right is a loose affiliation of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, far-right ideologues and Internet trolls. The term was created by a man named Richard Spencer who believes that white people should have their own country. Spencer concluded a speech in Washington this past weekend by saying “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Several audience members reacted by raising their arms in the Nazi salute.

Trump’s decision to bring Bannon to the White House has been loudly condemned by Congressional Democrats and groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center as the elevation and institutionalization of white nationalism at the highest levels of government. The decision has been praised by people like David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

In an interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, Trump said of the alt-right: “It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.” He also defended Bannon, who has said he is not a white nationalist, but an “economic nationalist.”

“Fire Bannon” was the official rallying cry of Tuesday’s demonstration, as neither Toomey nor the local Jewish Federation has spoken out against Bannon’s appointment. But the protest was about something far larger than one hiring decision: namely, the swift mainstreaming, during and since Trump’s election, of far-right, explicitly racist ideas. Read more »

Pa. Senators: Defend American Greatness By Rejecting These Two Trump Picks

Bob Casey Pat Toomey

L: Bob Casey R: Pat Toomey (Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Dear Senators Toomey and Casey,

We’ve got to talk — youngish Baby Boomer to youngish Baby Boomer, Catholic to Catholic, Pennsylvania voter to Pennsylvania legislators.

After the most divisive and hostile election in recent history, our nation stands on a knife edge: Who we are, what our nation represents, which human and civil rights we protect (and which we betray), are all up for grabs. As a Latina citizen, I will tell you that I have never felt as profoundly troubled about how those questions about our nation’s fundamental character will be answered as I am today.

I know I am not alone in this. Nearly every person of color, Muslim American, immigrant and LGBTQI person I know is bracing for the administration of a president-elect who, from the beginning, sought to portray us as usurpers, criminals, renegades and second-class citizens. A president-elect who never once bothered to acknowledge our great foundational and continuing contributions to this nation.

But I don’t want to talk to you about the election, which is, after all, over and done and sealed into history. I want, instead, to talk to you about how your choices in the next few months will shape our nation’s future. Read more »

Pat Toomey Wins U.S. Senate Race

Sen. Patrick Toomey, speaks to reporters outside his office in Washington on April 12, 2016.

Sen. Patrick Toomey, speaks to reporters outside his office in Washington on April 12, 2016.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has fought off a challenge from Katie McGinty and will return to the U.S. Senate for a second term, according to the Associated Press. As of 1:15 a.m., with 98 percent of precincts reporting, Toomey was up 2,797,095 votes to McGinty’s 2,710,775.

Toomey, who served in the U.S. House of Representative from 1999 to 2005, won his Senate seat in 2010 with a narrow victory over Democrat Joe Sestak. This year, the Democratic Party poured everything it had into McGinty’s campaign, helping her beat two opponents in the primary and making the Pennsylvania race one of the most closely watched — and most expensive — in the country. Toomey’s win will be a major relief for Republicans. Read more »

Pat Toomey Voted for Donald Trump

Pat Toomey; Donald Trump

Pat Toomey photo by Gage Skidmore (license; Donald Trump photo by Michael Candelori (license)

Voting just a little under an hour before the polls closed in Pennsylvania, Sen. Pat Toomey finally announced whom he was supporting in the presidential election: Donald Trump.

Attack ads tied Toomey to Trump all election, but Toomey kept his distance. Even President Obama brought it up.

Toomey avoided backing Trump (perhaps to avoid alienating people who didn’t like Trump) but also didn’t slam him too much, either (perhaps to avoid alienating his big fans). He did attack Trump over Trump’s comments on Ghazala Khan.

So he waited until today, at 6:45, to walk into the polling place in Zionsville, Lehigh County, and cast his ballot. Then he walked out and faced reporters: He was throwing his (red MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN) hat in for Trump. Read more »

Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Vote in the 2016 Presidential Election

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Happy Election Day, Philadelphia! Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The most important presidential race in modern memory is today. There are also lots of other candidates on the ballot who could change your life for better or worse. Pennsylvania is home to one of the most important U.S. Senate elections in the country. The state will elect its top law-enforcement official, and decide whether the Republican Party has a veto-proof majority in the state Senate. If you don’t know anything about those races — or where your polling place is, or whom to call if you have trouble voting — don’t worry. We’ve got all that and more covered below. Read more »

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