President Donald Trump clashed with numerous Republican lawmakers this week over his refusal to commit to a transfer of power. Amid the uproar, Trump said anew he’s not sure the election will be “honest.”
Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, clashed with Trump’s assertion that he’ll “see what happens” before agreeing to any election outcome.
The president said he wants to “make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be.”
Sponsored: Improve Breathing by 57%?
Trump’s attacks on the upcoming vote are hitting amid the tumult of the campaign, as partisan tensions, rage, riots, and more Americans than ever are planning to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s not the first time he has expressed doubts about the voting process. But his increased questioning before any result is setting off alarms among both critics and allies because results are likely to be delayed due to the pandemic.
The election could result in a protracted legal fight — or even unrest.
McConnell, the GOP Senate leader, said in a tweet —
The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 24, 2020
Trump has repeatedly expressed concern the election may be “rigged” if he loses, echoing warnings he made ahead of the 2016 voting.
After being elected, Trump convened a bipartisan voting integrity commission to investigate the 2016 presidential election over fears that between 3 million and 5 million ballots were illegally cast. The commission disbanded in 2018.
The ONLY Water You Should Drink If You’re 65+ [sponsored]
There have been more than 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since 2000, the commission found. It also found 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election in 20 states, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said when presenting the commission’s findings in 2018. Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence were among the commission’s leaders.
However, the commission’s final conclusion was that fraud did not happen on a large enough scale to influence the 2016 election.
During a Wednesday news conference, Trump said, “We’re going to have to see what happens,” responding to a question about committing to the results. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
In an unusual rebuke of the president, leaders of the Republican Party rushed to clarify that they would accept the results of a fair election.
Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally and the GOP chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday: “If Republicans lose we will accept the result. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Joe Biden, I will accept that result.”
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the House GOP leadership, said: “The peaceful transfer of power is enshrined in our Constitution and fundamental to the survival of our Republic. America’s leaders swear an oath to the Constitution. We will uphold that oath.”
9 drugs linked to Alzheimer’s disease? [sponsored]
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was also asked about Trump’s remarks. She insisted that the president will accept a fair election even if he loses.
“The president will accept the results of a free and fair election,” McEnany said. “He will accept the will of the American people.”
“So for clarity, if he loses and it’s ‘free and fair,’ he will accept it?” a reporter pressed.
“I’ve answered your question,” she replied. “He will accept the results of a free and fair election.” But the press secretary added that Trump wants to “get rid of mass, mail-out voting.”
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, was incredulous, “What country are we in?” he said late Wednesday of Trump’s comment. “Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say about it. But it doesn’t surprise me.”
Trump’s defenders were quick to note that former Secretary of State Hillary had urged the Democratic nominee to not concede “under any circumstances” in an April interview for Showtime.
“Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances, because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch, and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is,” Hillary said during the interview.
Meanwhile, Republicans are rushing to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, with Trump’s formal nomination expected on Saturday.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is among leading Republicans pushing the importance of the court’s role. And Graham suggested on Fox that the Supreme Court could end up all but declaring the winner.
Democrats object strongly.
“He wants to be named president for life?” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., exclaimed at the Capitol. That’s how a “dictator” operates, she said. “That’s not how a democracy works.”
The president, who uses mail-in voting himself, has tried to distinguish between states that automatically send ballots to all registered voters and those, like Florida, that send only to voters who request them.
Sponsored: Best Fruit For Fat Loss
Of the nine states with universal mail-in ballots this year, only Nevada is a battleground, and likely pivotal only in a total national presidential deadlock.
Before the 2016 election, much as now, Trump refused to commit to accepting the results during the summer.
“I have to see,” Trump said two months ago on “Fox News Sunday.” “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article