Challenge Alert

Lock in $15,000 with your donation by 6:30 p.m.

Donate now

    Toomey pressured to denounce Trump over insults to veterans

    Pennsylvania veterans (from left) Alexander McCoy

    Pennsylvania veterans (from left) Alexander McCoy

    Republicans in competitive races this year aren’t sure what to say about their controversial presidential candidate, so Democrats are taking every opportunity to make them squirm.

    The latest group to pile on Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey is a political action committee claiming to represent military veterans, their families and friends campaigning against Donald Trump. 

    Members of the Common Defense PAC carried empty cardboard boxes into the lobby of Toomey’s Philadelphia office Friday morning that they said represented thousands of online petition signatures calling on Toomey to disavow Trump. The petition at MoveOn.org is no longer available as the content is “under review,” according to the website.

    Asked if they were aware Toomey had not actually endorsed the Republican nominee, group spokesman and Marine Corps veteran Alexander McCoy pointed to an op-ed piece the senator wrote in May, saying he was inclined to support the nominee of his party.

    “We feel that as long as he says that he will vote for Donald Trump, he’s standing by all the things that Donald Trump has said — all the attacks on our veterans, all the attacks on our families,” said McCoy, who claimed the PAC is not supporting Toomey’s rival, Democrat Katie McGinty. (According to public records, Common Defense PAC registered with the Federal Election Commissioner in June and has raised $20,000 from a single donor from Baltimore.)

    But Toomey has not said he will vote for Trump. 

    “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 needing to be persuaded,” Toomey said when asked about Trump at a news conference earlier this month

    A spokesman for Toomey’s campaign said the senator stands by those statements. 

    Meanwhile, the senator can expect Democrats to ask him about every controversial thing Trump says.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.