It's been just under a month since I posted my last Toomey response
and so it filled my heart with glee (the mundane human emotion kind not the TV High School Glee club singing impossibly well kind) when I received another letter from Pennsylvania's junior Senator yesterday - via the Post Office.
It begins thusly:
Thank you for contacting me about President Trump. I appreciate hearing from you.
Standard opening but look: He's answering a Trump letter!!
Which one? That's the problem. Since the letter is dated September 12 we can dispense with any of my letters sent after that date (to be honest though, there were only two and not about Trump - my point here is moo
So which letter is it?
- Letter 2 - where I ask about Trump's difficulty in being truthful:
Doesn't it at all concern you that the leader of the free world (and head of your political party, by the way) has, on numerous occasions, made public statements that are demonstrably untrue? We're not talking about differences of opinion here, there was no immigrant/terrorist incident that night in Sweden, he did not have the highest number of electoral votes since Ronald Reagan, the murder rate is not the highest its been in 47 years and there were not between 3 and 5 million illegal votes cast.
There are only two possibilities. He knows they're not true but he says them anyway (in which case he's lying on a massive scale) or he believes them to be true (in which case he must have a problem comprehending reality).
Doesn't that concern you? And if not, why not?
- Letter 3 - where I ask about Trump's tweet regarding the press:
Do you agree with Donald Trump (your chosen candidate this past November) that the news media (including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the New York Times) constitutes an "enemy of the people" of the United States?
- Letter 6 - where I ask about Trump's continued claim that the Obama administration had wiretapped him, despite being debunked by the Justice Department:
The facts are clear and yet Donald Trump continues to push this untruth. So here's my question: How much does this erode your confidence in his ability as a leader?
- Letter 10 - where I ask about Trump's refusal (so far) to release his tax returns:
The reason the American people are entitled to see any sitting president's tax returns is simple: we have a right to know if decisions are being made for the good of the American people or simply for the good of that president's finances. One of the best ways to know that is to know see that president's financial details.
If it was good enough for Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, it should be good enough for Donald J. Trump, don't you agree?
- Letter 13 - where I ask about Trump's meeting in the Oval Office with Russian officials:
Given the events of the last few days (the Comey firing and the disclosure of highly classified information to the Russians) do you a still have confidence in Donald J Trump's ability to be president and commander in chief? If not, what are your plans to deal with him? If you still do have confidence in his leadership abilities, considering the events of the past few days, what would it take for you to lose that confidence?
- Letter 14 - where I ask again about Trump's meeting in the Oval Office with Russian officials, when he called the recently fired FBI Director James Comey "a real nut job":
Are you OK with the president of the United States in effect bragging to the Russian Ambassador that he'd just fired the guy in charge of the investigation into whatever connections there may have existed between his presidential campaign and Russian intelligence?
- Letter 21 - where I ask about the news reports that Trump was looking at replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Note: as of this writing Sessions has not been replaced) possibly in order to stop the Mueller investigation:
Given that you've already publicly declared that you have "every confidence" in Mueller's "integrity and professionalism", is this OK with you?
Is it OK with you that Donald J. Trump, as elected leader of the country and (more importantly, it seems) leader of your party, has chosen a route so disrespectful of the rule of law? If he gets away with it would the phrase "rule of law" have any meaning anymore?
- Letter 22 - where I ask about Trump's dictation of his son Donald Jr's first statement regarding his meeting with the Russians:
That statement said the meeting was primarily about Russian adoption and it has since been shown to be misleading, at best. Dishonest, at worst. By any reckoning, it was a personally dictated presidential deception about Russian meddling with our election.
So, here's my question: How comfortable are you with the President of the United States misleading the American people on such an important matter?
You voted for him, you have to have an opinion about this. I'd like to know what it is.
- Letter 23 - where I ask about Trump's speech to the Boy Scouts:
Not only did Donald J Trump lie about the Boy Scouts but that speech, as you probably know by now, triggered an apology from the Scouts to anyone offended by the "political rhetoric injected into the jamboree."
Senator Toomey, you were a Boy Scout (an Eagle Scout, in fact). So here's this week's question: How and why do you continue to support such a man who would blatantly politicize the Boy Scouts and then lie about it later?
- Letter 24 - where I ask about Trump's response to the white supremacists' rally in Charlottesville:
Given your statement of the 14th, when you asserted your unambiguous disgust with white supremacists (et al) and Trump's departure from his statement and re-embrace of "blame both sides", has your support for Donald Trump, the leader of your political party and the man you voted for for president, wavered in any way?
- Letter 25 - where I ask about Trump's pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Is this OK with you? That a man convicted of "flagrantly disregarding" a federal judge's direct order not to violate anyone's constitutional rights gets a pardon for it?
Do you agree with your Senate colleague, John McCain, when he said that "The President has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions.”?
- Letter 26 - where I ask about Trump's tweet regarding his claim that President Obama wiretapped his phone:
Either Trump was lying in that he knew that what he was tweeting wasn't true but tweeted it anyway or he was negligent in that he fail (sic) to pick up the phone to confirm the story with the DOJ before tweeting. He's the leader of your party. You voted for him for in November. You're legislating his agenda in the Senate. How can you continue to support Donald J Trump?
As you can see I've been asking Senator Toomey about Donald Trump for almost as long as I've been writing to Senator Toomey. The first letter on the above list, in fact, was posted March 7. You'll note that the letters seem to be in this format:
- I say that Trump has done something "iffy"
- I ask Senator Toomey, "Are you OK with that?"
And this is Toomey's response, verbatim:
On January 20, 2017 Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Since the inauguration, I have heard from a number of Pennsylvanians both in support and opposition to the President. In a state as large and diverse as ours, I can certainly understand there being a wide array of opinions regarding the President, and I appreciate you taking the time to share yours.
When talking about the President during her concession speech, Hillary Clinton said that "we owe him an open mind and the chance to lead" and that she hopes "he will be a successful president for all Americans." I agree with her sentiments and look to work with the President and his administration to help improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians - but also stand up against the President when he does not carry out his duties appropriately.
Clearly, there is much to be done to turn Washington around, and we need to work together on ways to to help grow the economy, strengthen our national security, and bring back some common sense to federal regulations.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
As you can guess, I have no idea which of my eleven
letters Senator Toomey is addressing as he doesn't actually refer to any one specifically. But let's take a closer look at what he does say. If the letter is to be believed, he's still approaching
Trump with "an open mind" and giving him "a chance to lead" still hoping he'll be "successful" even after
all of the Trump-stuff I asked about about.
And so that's our answer, my friends:
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey is OK with Donald J Trump's many assaults on American democracy, decency, and the rule of law.
One last thing, Senator. You've taken Clinton out of context just a tad. Here's the full paragraph from her concession speech immediately following
her "we owe him" sentence:
Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don't just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things; the rule of law, the principle that we are all equal in rights and dignity, freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these values too and we must defend them.
How much of that runs in direct opposition to what we know now about Trump? It's oh so interesting that Pat Toomey isn't using that text to tell us that we owe Trump and open mind and the chance to lead.