Trump denounces Bill McSwain as a ‘coward,’ dashing the Pa. Republican’s hopes for an endorsement
McSwain has been campaigning for governor on his ties to Trump, touting his appointment as the top federal prosecutor in Philadelphia and running ads that show the two men smiling together.
This is the opposite of winning a Trump primary.
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday sharply denounced Republican Bill McSwain, whom he once appointed as a U.S. attorney, and said there’s no way the ex-prosecutor’s campaign for Pennsylvania governor will win his endorsement.
“One person in Pennsylvania who I will not be endorsing is Bill McSwain for Governor,” Trump said in a statement that repeated his lies about the 2020 election. “He was the U.S. Attorney who did absolutely nothing on the massive Election Fraud that took place in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth.”
But while Trump still hasn’t endorsed a candidate in the crowded Republican primary field, he made clear that it won’t be McSwain.
“Do not vote for Bill McSwain, a coward, who let our Country down,” Trump said.
McSwain said Tuesday that he is “proud of my record as U.S. attorney.” He also took a swipe at one of the leading GOP candidates, State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin), who voted for the 2019 Pennsylvania law that vastly expanded mail voting.
That law has been at the center of Trump’s false claims about voting in Pennsylvania.
“When I’m governor, we’re going to get back to a voting system that everyone has confidence in, and that begins with repealing the unconstitutional mail-in balloting law, Act 77, that Doug Mastriano voted for,” McSwain said.
Mastriano shot back in a statement late Tuesday, saying he and Trump “are fighting the same battles” and claiming the Pennsylvania Supreme Court “unconstitutionally” interpreted the law.
“Those changes completely undermined our legislative intent and removed critical safeguards prior to the 2020 election,” Mastriano said. “I will continue to fight for election integrity and as governor I’ll have the power to ensure that our elections are administered correctly and lawfully.”
Trump’s rebuke was a stinging setback for McSwain, a first-time candidate who built his campaign around his tenure as a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor.
Trump on Tuesday again used McSwain as a cudgel to bash his former attorney general, Bill Barr, who last month said Trump’s claims about the 2020 election “were bull—.” Trump’s broadside Tuesday claimed Barr was “afraid of being impeached by Democrats.”
Barr told The Inquirer last summer that McSwain only wanted to “flap his gums” about alleged election fraud, but had to be ordered to actually investigate cases. He spoke after Trump claimed that McSwain had said Barr prevented him from investigating fraud. Trump later released a letter McSwain sent him seeking his support.
McSwain, in that letter, complained about being prevented from making public statements about the election and being ordered to share information with state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat now running for governor. But McSwain’s letter didn’t say he was prevented from investigating voter fraud allegations.
Barr told The Inquirer that he confronted McSwain about the letter, and that McSwain told him he wrote it because “he was under pressure from Trump and for him to have a viable candidacy he couldn’t have Trump attacking him.”
Trump on Tuesday again circulated McSwain’s letter, suggesting it showed “why he shouldn’t be governor.”
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia filed no fraud cases related to the 2020 presidential election while McSwain was in charge. There is no evidence of significant fraud in Pennsylvania’s 2020 election. State and federal judges, some appointed by Trump, reviewed his campaign’s claims of fraud and found them to be without merit.
The Democratic Governors Association reveled Tuesday in Trump’s denouncement of McSwain, recalling the former president’s catchphrase from his reality television show, The Apprentice.
“Sorry, Bill,” the DGA said. “You’re fired.”