(The Center Square) – U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania became the second Republican in Washington to call for the president’s resignation after a rally of his supporters turned violent last week.
“I think at this point with just a few days left, it’s the best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rearview mirror for us,” Toomey told CNN over the weekend. “That could happen immediately. I’m not optimistic it will, but I do think that would be the best way forward.”
He later told Fox News the president committed “impeachable offenses.” He is the second GOP senator to say Trump should step down as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, prepares articles of impeachment for Monday’s session.
Toomey’s comments come as more details emerge about the mob that stormed the Capitol on Tuesday in what many Democrats have described as a failed coup. Five people died.
The state’s Democratic senator, Bob Casey Jr., joined his party in demanding Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump, placing the blame for the violence on president’s claims of widespread voter fraud that he doubled down on in a fiery speech Tuesday, just before protesters attacked the Capitol building.
“While shocking, (Tuesday’s) events were entirely foreseeable,” Casey said. “They were the direct result of President Trump’s lies about the integrity of our most recent election, and his frequent incitements to violence.
He also hammered Republicans for backing the president’s “wild conspiracy theories” about the election. President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump on Nov. 3 after mail-in ballots erased the president’s early lead – a turn of events many Republicans question.
“These members of Congress, along with President Trump, are responsible for this direct assault on our democracy and on our Nation’s Capitol Building,” Casey said. “Their collective actions and words put lives at risk, and struck at the heart of our most fundamental democratic principles.”
Democrats in the state Legislature made equally strong statements condemning their Republican counterparts after at least one attended the rally before it erupted into violence. Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, organized a group trip to the protest on Tuesday and said he left once demonstrators breached the Capitol.
“The residents of the 33rd senatorial district deserve to be represented by someone with a higher regard for this nation, its laws, its judicial system and its government,” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said last week.
The chamber’s top ranking Republican, President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, defended Mastriano and said there’s no need for action since he didn’t participate in any of the criminal activity that unfolded that day.
“One of our fundamental rights is that of peaceful assembly,” he said. “I talked with Senator Mastriano who shared with me that he and his wife attended the political rally in Washington, D.C., but left as the horrific turmoil began to unfold. He assured me that he did not participate in any unlawful activities. Absent facts to the contrary, the Senate has no cause to act.”