Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasn’t even buried before Sen. Pat Toomey broke his word and spat on her dying wish.
We were not surprised.
Since November 2016, we’ve joined Tuesdays with Toomey, a statewide movement of Sen. Toomey’s Pennsylvania constituents, to gather every week outside his offices and online to share concerns with our senator. We hoped he would listen and consider the views of all his constituents.
Instead, Sen. Toomey has at times refused to meet with us, and Philadelphia police arrested us outside the senator’s office.*
On Feb. 5, 2016, nine months before the 2016 presidential election, Sen. Toomey said: “Given that we are already well into the presidential election process, and that the Supreme Court appointment is for a lifetime, it makes sense to give the American people a more direct say in this critical decision. The next court appointment should be made by the newly elected president. If that new president is not a member of my party, I will take the same objective nonpartisan approach to that nominee as I have always done.”
Then on Sept. 22, Sen. Toomey said this time he supports filling the court’s vacant seat before the election. He broke his promise.
Sen. Toomey has a habit of breaking promises. He promised not to be a rubber stamp for the Trump administration, yet he reverses his positions at the president’s whim. He claimed to be a moderate, working across the aisle to pass legislation to benefit Pennsylvanians, including commonsense gun reform, often citing his failed Manchin-Toomey proposal, but he opposes even an assault weapons ban. He promised no one would lose coverage under the GOP health-care plan he helped write, but he supported significant Medicaid cuts.* He promised a tax bill that would reduce taxes for the middle class, then delivered tax “reform” that slashed taxes for corporations and millionaires while undermining the safety net, raising taxes for many Americans, and adding a projected trillion dollars to the deficit.
He promised to hold an in-person, open town hall with his constituents in the Greater Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas, 40% of the Pennsylvanians he supposedly serves.
We’re 3,000-plus days and counting as we wait on that one.
Sen. Toomey betrays us with his words, and he betrays us with his actions.
The difference now is Pennsylvanians are holding him accountable. We remember every betrayal. We remember his insinuation that, though we stand outside his offices in rain, snow, ice, and sweltering heat because we disagree with his extreme stances, we are not “real Pennsylvanians.” He even said we were paid to be there when, in fact, the only one collecting a paycheck to represent us is Sen. Toomey, and he is nowhere to be found.
Sen. Toomey is no moderate. His self-declared “objective nonpartisan approach” to governance is a farce. He proves it every time he moves the goal posts on what he claims are his principles, whether it be about tariffs or commonsense gun reform. He proves it by breaking his word and committing to vote to seat a Supreme Court justice, not just “in an election year,” but during an election.
Pennsylvanians do not take kindly to betrayal. In 2022, Sen. Toomey will try again to pull the wool over Pennsylvania’s eyes, whether he runs for senator, governor, or another office. But we remember. We have the receipts.
We will hold Sen. Toomey accountable online, at his offices, and at the ballot box.
Vashti Bandy and Rosalind Holtzman are on the Tuesdays With Toomey Philly leadership board with Carolyn Stillwell, who contributed research to this piece.
*This post has been updated to more accurately reflect the sequence of events around protesters’ arrests, and Sen. Toomey’s involvement in the 2017 GOP health-care plan.