McConnell, GOP dispute Trump; say they'd accept if he loses

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McConnell, GOP dispute Trump; say they'd accept if he loses

Friday, September 25, 2020

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WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AP) — Congressional Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, pushed back yesterday after President Donald Trump again declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November 3 Presidential Election.

Trump said during a Wednesday news conference, “We're going to have to see what happens,” responding to a question. “You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

But McConnell and other top Republicans had no hesitation in committing to an orderly transfer if Trump loses.

“The winner of the November 3 election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” McConnell said in a tweet. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox & Friends yesterday, “If Republicans lose we will accept the result. If the Supreme Court rules in favour of Joe Biden, I will accept that result.”

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the House GOP leadership, tweeted: “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.”

It is highly unusual that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy's electoral process. But Trump also declined four years ago to commit to honouring the election results if his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won.

Biden, his current Democratic challenger, was asked about Trump's comment after landing in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday night.

“What country are we in?” Biden asked incredulously, adding: “I'm being facetious. Look, he says the most irrational things. I don't know what to say about it. But it doesn't surprise me.”

Trump has been pressing a month-long campaign against mail-in voting this November by tweeting and speaking out critically about the practice. More states are encouraging mail-in voting to keep voters safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The president, who uses mail-in voting himself, has tried to distinguish between states that automatically send mail ballots to all registered voters and those, like Florida, that send them only to voters who request a mail ballot.

Trump has baselessly claimed widespread mail voting will lead to massive fraud. The five states that routinely send mail ballots to all voters have seen no significant fraud.

Trump's latest comments were widely denounced by Democrats as threatening the very nature of the nation's democracy. Several Republicans came forward, as well.

“Regardless of how divided our country is right now, when elections are over and winners are declared, we must all commit ourselves to the constitution and accept the results,” tweeted Rep Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, a former chair of the House Republican campaign arm.

Senator Mitt Romney, one of the lone GOP voices to cross Trump, referred to an electoral crisis in Europe, tweeting: “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.”

But Graham's repeated suggestion on Fox that the Supreme Court could — when acting upon seemingly inevitable legal challenges to the election — end up all but declaring the winner came with an unspoken subtext: that the Senate was moving to confirm a Trump-appointed jurist to fill the vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death before the election, potentially stacking the deck for Republicans.

And, McConnell declined to comment beyond his tweet when asked at the Capitol whether he would insist Trump step aside if he loses.

Trump on Wednesday had appeared to suggest that if states got “rid of” the unsolicited mailing of ballots there would be no concern about fraud or peaceful transfers of power.

“You'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer frankly,” Trump said. “There'll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control, you know it, and you know, who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.”

In a July interview, Trump similarly refused to commit to accepting the results.

“I have to see. Look...I have to see,” Trump told Chris Wallace during a wide-ranging July interview 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.”


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