This story originally appeared on WITF.
Pennsylvania’s GOP senator says the transfer of presidential power was not peaceful, for the first time in American history, because of former President Donald Trump’s actions.
After a Saturday morning debate over whether to call witnesses in Trump’s second impeachment trial, Pat Toomey voted in favor of the single charge of incitement to insurrection.
On a call with reporters following the vote, Toomey said: “President Trump summoned thousands of people to Washington, D.C., inflamed their passions by repeating disproven allegations about widespread fraud. He urged that mob to march on the Capitol for the explicit purpose of preventing Congress and the vice president from formally certifying the results of the presidential election.”
The Commonwealth’s junior senator joined every Democrat and six of his GOP colleagues in voting to convict, making it the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S. history.
The 57 to 43 vote did not reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict.
Toomey has aggressively pushed back on Trump’s false assertions that he won Pennsylvania and other states in the election. Joe Biden won Pennsylvania, a swing state, by almost 81,000 votes. Its 20 electoral votes were key to Biden’s electoral college victory.
Trump’s campaign filed multiple lawsuits in Pennsylvania and elsewhere that attempted to overturn the results.
“(Trump’s) lawful, but unsuccessful, legal challenges failed due to a complete lack of evidence. Then he applied intense pressure on state and local officials to reverse the election outcomes in their states,” Toomey said Saturday.
In late November, he was among the few GOP senators to call on the former president to accept the results of the 2020 election following numerous failed legal challenges.
Toomey, who is retiring in 2022, voted twice to affirm the trial’s constitutionality.
He had been among the Republican members considered a possible guilty vote after he defended Pennsylvanian’s election results during the Electoral College certification Jan. 6. He also called on Trump to resign in the days following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Biden won the popular vote with more than 81 million votes. Toomey, noting that he was one of the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump, said the then-president’s behavior after the election betrayed the confidence that millions had placed in him.
“(Trump’s) betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction,” he said.