PENNSYLVANIA — Bill McSwain has a long record of putting his own political aspirations first — including using “deceitful” pre-checked boxes to scam unwitting Pennsylvanians into extra campaign contributions and spending $75,000 in taxpayer’ money to “slap his name and face on billboards” — but perhaps none more infamous than his embarrassing attempt to win Trump’s endorsement by sending him a letter alleging that as U.S. Attorney, he was blocked from investigating the (nonexistent) voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
The letter was deemed “just false” by Bill Barr himself, and has overshadowed his campaign, even as recently as this week on NPR when, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Chris Brennan noted that “McSwain left office without announcing any investigations or outcome of investigations for the 2020 election in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” but as he prepared to run for office, decided to write “a very lawyerly letter” to Trump in an attempt to rewrite his record.
Despite his best attempts to prove his MAGA bonafides, McSwain has had a tough time swimming in the deep end of a “Super MAGA” primary where a crowded field of far-right candidates are all-in on Trump and his escalating attacks on our democracy. In a recent poll, McSwain came in at a “Gentleman’s Zero” — and he can’t escape the long shadow of his desperate letter to Donald Trump.
Check out NPR’s most recent coverage of McSwain’s letter to Trump:
NPR: Pressed on his election lies, former President Trump cuts NPR interview short
By Domenico Montanaro, Steve Inskeep, Miles Parks, 01/12/22
The Pennsylvania example
Most Republican voters now say they feel the election was stolen, according to surveys. That gives Trump leverage with Republican candidates who want to win primaries this year.
In Pennsylvania, numerous Republicans are running for governor and senator. They’ve made lots of moves to prove their fealty to the former president. One candidate for governor is Bill McSwain, who happened to be a U.S. attorney during the 2020 election.
“Bill McSwain left office without announcing any investigations or outcome of investigations for the 2020 election in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,” said Chris Brennan of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who has covered his story.
But then McSwain prepared to run for office. Last summer, he produced a letter for Trump, appealing for his support — and implying that he was blocked somehow from investigating unspecified claims of fraud.
“But it doesn’t actually say that,” Brennan said. “So even he, when you carefully read it, does not claim that he was blocked from investigating fraud.”
Trump nonetheless made the letter public and gave his own interpretation at multiple rallies.
“We have a U.S. attorney in Philadelphia that says he wasn’t allowed to go and check,” Trump said at a rally in Florida.