Pat Toomey did it again. At a press conference Wednesday, the Republican senator declined to say whether or not he’d support Donald Trump in the presidential election.
“As I have said repeatedly, I have not endorsed Donald Trump,” he said. “There are things that he has said, a number of things he has said and done that give me great pause and I have significant concerns about, so I remain in a mode of waiting to be persuaded. I’ve not made a final decision on what I’m going to do.”
Toomey’s reticence isn’t normal for Republican senators up for election this fall. This year, 23 Senate Republicans are running for re-election. Twenty-one have said whether or not they will support Trump in November. Toomey is joined by Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski as the lone members who have not publicly said who they will support in the election, which is less than 90 days away.
Even Arizona senator John McCain, whose status as a war hero was belittled by Trump last summer, made his decision, saying he would back him in May. Another senator, Indiana’s Dan Coats, is retiring instead of seeking re-election but also announced he would support Trump.
“Support” is the key word for many. They aren’t giving full endorsements but “support.”
Toomey hasn’t even gone that far. His comments about Trump during the last few months have mostly resembled what he wrote in a May 9 editorial for the Inquirer. He wrote that Trump wasn’t even his third choice for the nominee and that he objected to “much in his manner and his policies.” Then later in the editorial he came close to saying he would support Trump but then pulled back.
“As a Republican elected official, I am inclined to support the nominee of my party. That doesn’t mean I must always agree with him. I didn’t agree with Mitt Romney, John McCain, or George W. Bush on everything, but I supported them. That said, Trump is different from previous nominees.”
The 21 senators who said whether they’re supporting or not supporting Trump all made their decisions by June 30. Most of them decided in May, shortly after it became apparent Trump would be the nominee.
In the primary, Toomey originally endorsed Marco Rubio. In April 2012, he endorsed Mitt Romney. Though this technically happened before Romney was the Republican nominee, Romney’s candidacy was essentially a done deal. Runner-up Rick Santorum withdrew from the race the same day Toomey endorsed Romney.
Katie McGinty, Toomey’s opponent, has repeatedly attacked the incumbent for not deciding on Trump. Penn Live released an editorial this week saying he needed to make a decision.
Weeks ago, most experts considered the race between McGinty and Toomey to be a toss-up. A poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac showed McGinty with a three-point lead.
Here’s a full list of what Republican senators up for re-election think of Trump:
|Senator||State||Decision on Trump||Month of Decision|
|Kelly Ayotte||New Hampshire||Support||May|
|Richard Burr||North Carolina||Support||May|
|John Hoeven||North Dakota||Support||May|
|Mark Kirk||Illinois||Will not support||June|
|Mike Lee||Utah||Will not support||June|
|Tim Scott||South Carolina||Support||May|
|John Thune||South Dakota||Support||May|