Days before the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 holds its first hearing, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on Sunday painted investigations into the deadly Capitol insurrection as a move that works “politically to the advantage of Democrats to try to keep this issue in the forefront.”
Appearing on CNN, Toomey was pressed on the GOP’s reluctance to get to the bottom of the Capitol insurrection, following House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) withdrawal of all five of the Republicans he chose for the select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6. McCarthy announced the move after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two of his picks, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN).
Toomey said he was supportive of establishing the bipartisan commission investigating the Jan. 6 attack — which Senate Republicans deployed the filibuster for to block the legislation from advancing. Toomey was absent for the vote held in May, citing a family commitment. Following the 54-35 vote, Toomey’s communications director Steve Kelly said that the Pennsylvania senator “would have voted in favor of the motion to proceed to the January 6th commission legislation with the expectation that the Senate would consider, and Sen. Toomey would have supported, an amendment that addresses Republican concerns about partisan staffing and the duration of the commission.”
Toomey then took aim at Democrats by complaining that their continued push to probe the events of Jan. 6 works to their advantage politically.
“We have a lot of investigations underway now, there are Senate committees that have completed some, there are others still in progress, we have many criminal investigations. I would favor a truly bipartisan commission, but I think there, we should be candid about the fact that it is politically to the advantage of Democrats to try to keep this issue in the forefront,” Toomey said.
After pointing to comments by Democratic strategist James Carville, Toomey argued that it’s “very clear that Democrats have an incentive to try to drive a political message here.”
“And a purely partisan commission in the House is probably going to do that,” Toomey said.
Asked about what it says about the GOP that an investigation into a violent insurrection would reflect poorly upon it, Toomey hit back by griping that probes into the Jan. 6 events serve as distractions from President Biden’s policies.
“It is constant reminder about a terrible episode in our history which Donald Trump was at the heart of, rather than looking at the policies of the current president,” Toomey said. “I mean, which is more relevant in 2022? I would argue the current president’s policies and the damage that he’s going to be doing, that’s what we should be debating in 2022. But I’m not sure that’s what the Democrats want to be talking about.”
Toomey’s remarks come amid Republicans slamming the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack as partisan after Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy’s selections for the panel. McCarthy pulled all five of his nominees from the committee soon after.
Earlier this month, Pelosi appointed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” as her sole Republican appointment to the committee.
On Sunday, Pelosi announced that Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) will be the second Republican on the select committee, following McCarthy’s withdrawal of all five of his picks for the panel.
Both Cheney and Kinzinger vehemently refused to do former President Trump’s bidding of pushing the big lie of a “stolen” election and voted in favor of his impeachment after the Capitol insurrection. They were also the only two Republicans who voted to approve the measure that set up the select committee.
Watch Toomey’s remarks below:
GOP Sen. Pat Toomey says investigating Jan. 6 "is politically to the advantage of Democrats, to try to keep this issue in the forefront" and argues "it is a constant reminder about a terrible episode in our history … rather than looking at the policies of the current President" pic.twitter.com/jlT8qk6V4t
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 25, 2021