- GOP Sen. Pat Toomey on Friday threw cold water on a potential 2024 bid by former President Trump.
- During a CNBC interview, the Pennsylvania senator called Trump’s postelection behavior “completely unacceptable.”
- Toomey, a staunch conservative, is retiring from the Senate after the 2022 midterm elections.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, said on Friday that the GOP should not nominate the former president as the party’s standard bearer in 2024.
In an interview with CNBC at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy, the retiring two-term Pennsylvania senator was asked if he would be dismayed if Trump reemerged as the GOP nominee in the upcoming presidential contest.
“Yeah, after what happened post-2020 election,” he said. “I think the president’s behavior was completely unacceptable. So I don’t think he should be the nominee to lead the party in 2024.”
When asked if there was a “traditional conservative candidate” who could become the nominee, Toomey expressed that there were an abundance of qualified candidates.
“There’s no one obvious candidate, but there are many, many people who could do a fantastic job,” he said.
In November 2020, Toomey refuted Trump’s false claims of a stolen presidential election and was one of the first GOP senators to publicly congratulate now-President Joe Biden on his victory.
Just days after the election, when ballots were still being counted in pivotal Pennsylvania, Toomey swatted down Trump’s postelection White House speech alleging voter fraud.
“There’s simply no evidence anyone has shown me of any widespread corruption or fraud,” he said on “CBS This Morning” in early November. “The president’s speech last night was very disturbing to me because he made very, very serious allegations without any evidence to support it.”
After the deadly Jan. 6 riot, which saw insurrectionists breach the Capitol in an effort to stop the certification of Biden’s presidential win, Toomey blasted Trump’s behavior, saying that the then-president had “committed impeachable offenses.”
In Trump’s second impeachment trial, Toomey was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict the former president for “incitement of insurrection.” He was censured by several local Republican parties for his vote against the former president.
In the CNBC interview, Toomey defended his conservative governing philosophy against criticism from Trump loyalists.
“I’m a conservative Republican by any objective measure, by looking at the voting record, by looking at my views compared to that of a traditional conservative Republican,” he said. “It is President Trump who departed from Republican orthodoxy and conservative orthodoxy in a variety of ways.”
For months, Trump has flirted with a 2024 presidential bid – and if he decides to enter the race, it would mark the third consecutive run for the former president, who currently remains the overwhelming favorite among GOP voters in most public polling.
When asked about the future of the GOP, Toomey told CNBC that the party shouldn’t focus on a singular figure.
“I think that the future of our party is to be a party of ideas, and not to be a party about any one individual,” he said. “And I think we will learn a lot from the next set of primaries.”
Toomey, long known as a deficit hawk, served in the House from 1999 to 2005, nearly defeating then-Sen. Arlen Specter in a 2004 GOP primary.
After leaving the House, he served as president of the Club for Growth, the conservative organization that advocates for limited government and fiscal restraint, before being elected to the Senate in 2010 and reelected in 2016.
Toomey will not run for reelection next year, and Trump recently endorsed Army veteran Sean Parnell in the GOP Senate primary.
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