Trump Refuses To Promise A ‘Peaceful Transition Of Power’ After Election If He Loses
President Donald Trump refused Wednesday to commit to ensuring a peaceful transition of power after Election Day, regardless of the presidential outcome.
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump told reporters, adding that “you know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.”
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very … there won’t be a transfer, frankly,” he said. “There’ll be a continuation,” he added, saying “the ballots are out of control.”
Reporter: "Win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?"
President Trump: "We're going to have to see what happens." pic.twitter.com/h5RF3dKPD1
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 23, 2020
Mail-in voting has been a consistent target of Trump’s, with him previously going as far as to claim they could cause a “rigged election” that will have to be redone. Numerous fact checks and studies have shown mail-in voting fraud to be a fraction of what Trump has made it out to be. According to a 2017 study from the Brennan Center for Justice, the rate of voting fraud overall is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%.
Trump received immediate pushback for his comments, which echo past jokes about not giving up his authority and extending his term.
“Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tweeted. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) September 24, 2020
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) wrote on Twitter that Trump’s remarks were “dangerous” and “undemocratic.”
“The comments by President Trump tonight are as dangerous as they are undemocratic,” Leahy said. “They are unprecedented in our history. I implore leaders from both parties to take this seriously and condemn it forcefully.”
He continued: “What we heard from President Trump tonight rings of rhetoric we hear from dictators around the world. A refusal to accept a peaceful transition of power & a thinly veiled suggestion to “get rid of” legitimately cast votes.”
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (D) weighed in on Twitter as well, writing that “in one day, Trump refused a peaceful transition of power and urged the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice to hand him an election if the results are contested.”
“This is fascism, alive and well in the Republican Party,” he added.
In one day, Trump refused a peaceful transition of power and urged the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice to hand him an election if the results are contested.
This is fascism, alive and well in the Republican Party. https://t.co/UZ5lGjtrnS
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 23, 2020
As the election nears, national polls have indicated that Trump is trailing nationally but is prepared for a much closer contest in battleground swing states.