Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to commit to providing a peaceful transition of power if he loses the presidential election, raising further concerns he may not let go of his office should he end up losing in Nov.
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said responding to a reporter who asked whether he would commit to a peaceful transition, one of the fundaments of American democracy.
Trump has earlier refused to say whether or not he would accept the election results, reiterating his sentiments from 2016. He has joked about staying in office well past the constitutionally bound two terms, CNN reported.
His refusal to assure a violence-free transition went further and is likely to raise concerns among his opponents, already on the verge considering his deployment of federal law enforcement to suppress the protests in various American cities. His unwillingness to commit to a peaceful transition was sowed in his remarks about ballots, baselessly hinting at widespread mail-in voting fraud.
“You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster,” Trump said at the White House press briefing, probably referring to mail-in ballots, which he claimed will pave the way for voter fraud, despite the lack of evidence.
“(G)et rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very … there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation,” Trump added saying, “the ballots are out of control.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, who has supported Trump in the past, slammed the president’s comments later Wednesday. “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” Romney tweeted.
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
“Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
Trump has previously claimed his rival Joe Biden would not win unless the election is rigged, and suggested it was likely the results of the election would be contested all the way to the Supreme Court.
National polls currently show Trump trailing Biden, however, surveys of electoral battleground states are narrow.