Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional quotes from local officials.
Both of Pennsylvania’s senators – a Democrat and a Republican – voted to convict former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt in the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey found Trump guilty, following a four-day impeachment trial. This is the second time Trump has been impeached by the House, then later acquitted by the Senate.
Toomey, who is not running for reelection, said in a press call following Saturday’s vote that the “accumulation of the weight of all the evidence” informed his decision to find Trump guilty of inciting the Jan. 6 riot.
President Donald Trump’s defense team made several accurate observations at the impeachment trial. Many elected Democrats did want to impeach President Trump from the moment he won the 2016 election.— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) February 13, 2021
“Having lived through and observed these last few several months, I obviously was aware of behavior that I did not approve of, but I had not made up my mind on a specific article of impeachment until I heard the arguments,” Toomey said.
Toomey said he realizes many Republicans in Pennsylvania will disagree with his decision.
“It’s important as a party to be able to distinguish... The terrific successes of this administration, the fact that the president did stand up to and against some bad policies and some bad trends,” Toomey said. “Those things can be true, and it can also be true that his behavior after the election became completely unacceptable.
“I hope that we get to the point where we can come together as a party and recognize those things,” Toomey added.
Lawrence Tabas, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, released a statement describing the impeachment proceeding as “an unconstitutional theft of time and energy” and expressing disappointment in Toomey’s vote.
In 2019 during Trump’s first impeachment trial, Toomey voted to acquit, while Casey voted to convict him for pressuring a foreign power.
Toomey, who joined six other Republicans in voting guilty on the single charge of incitement of insurrection, also released a statement saying that Trump used “dishonest, systematic attempts” to trick his supporters into believing that he had actually won the 2020 presidential election, and that the former president then inflamed a mob to attack the Capitol after lawful, but unsuccessful, legal challenges failed and efforts to pressure state and local officials to reverse the election outcomes in their jurisdictions proved fruitless.
“As a result of President Trump’s actions, for the first time in American history, the transfer of presidential power was not peaceful,” Toomey said in the statement.
“His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction.”
Casey said he voted to convict Trump because the former president "attacked the foundational principles of our democracy and the peaceful transfer of power."
My statement following the Senate trial of former President Trump: pic.twitter.com/YFrPRa7Jsb— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) February 14, 2021
"This case was not merely about the former President’s speech on January 6," Casey said in a statement. "This was about a pattern of conduct. It was about the former President’s autocratic leadership and calls for political violence throughout his presidency. It was about a President who regularly condoned or encouraged violence at political rallies against protestors and members of the press. It was about a President who once bragged: 'I have the tough people [supporting me], but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.'"
Kirk Radanovic, chair of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County, said the impeachment effort only furthered the partisan divide in the country, and that President Joe Biden should start taking action on his calls for national unity.
“Democrats have been on an endless witch hunt since 2016 while failing to address growing concerns of reopening our schools, getting Americans back to work and distributing vaccines to our most vulnerable communities,” Radanovic said. “The prosecution of the 74,222,960 Trump voters across the country is shameful and shows Democrats’ only concern is canceling Republicans instead of fighting for the American people.”
State Rep. Dave Zimmerman, R-East Earl, said he believed the Constitution was upheld Saturday.
Lancaster County Democratic Committee Chair Diane Topakian said she was disappointed with the result Saturday, though she didn’t expect anything different.
Topakian was pleased that seven Republicans, including Toomey, joined all 50 Senate Democrats in voting to convict Trump, though she said Democrats now have to hold the remainder of the GOP caucus accountable for what she described as complicity and cowardice.
“Forty-three senators didn’t have the courage to do the right thing and convict him of high crimes and misdemeanors,” she said. “The history books will tell the story.”
For Democrats in Pennsylvania, Topakian said their task will begin with finding a candidate to run for Toomey’s seat in 2022, which he will be vacating when his term expires.
Topakian also said a speech after the vote by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that blasted Trump for actions prior to the insurrection while defending his own vote of acquittal was “hypocritical.”
“It’s cowardice like we’ve never seen before,” Topakian said, “and they’re all complicit in it.”