- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans brushed off or only vaguely condemned President Trump refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
- Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the second-highest ranking official in the Senate, deflected to criticism of Hillary Clinton when questioned on the matter.
- GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska dismissed Trump’s comments as just another example of his tendency to say “crazy stuff.”
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a number of other top congressional Republicans brushed off or only issued vague statements rebuking President Donald Trump refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
At a Wednesday evening press briefing, Trump not only declined to accept to holding a peaceful transition of administrations if he loses the elections but said that ballots themselves â€” a key mechanism of the voting process â€” are “a disaster”
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster,” Trump said. “Get rid of the ballots…and there won’t be a transfer, frankly, 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 know it better than anyone else.”
Without directly referencing Trump or the incendiary nature of the president’s remarks, McConnell on Thursday tweeted, “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.”
Similarly, Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina expressed confidence that there would be a peaceful transfer of power, offering no criticism of the president.
“As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election,” Rubio said in a Thursday tweet. “It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one. And at noon on Jan 20 ,2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.”
In a Thursday appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Graham said, “People wonder about the peaceful transfer of power. I can assure you it will be peaceful.”
Lindsey Graham: "People wonder about the peaceful transfer of power. I can assure you it will be peaceful. Now we may have litigation about who won the election, but the court will decide, and if Republicans lose, we'll accept that result. But we need a full court." pic.twitter.com/mVBGtMXiBF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 24, 2020
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the second-highest-ranking official in the Senate, on Thursday deflected to criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when questioned about Trump’s comments. Clinton recently suggested that former Vice President Joe Biden refuse to concede on election night “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.”
“I would have the same concern when Hillary Clinton advised Biden not to concede the election,” Grassley said. “You ask me just from the standpoint of what the president said: it isn’t very good advice from Hillary Clinton to advise Biden about that.”
“We have a Constitution and the Constitution says when the presidency ends,” Grassley added.
GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska dismissed Trump’s comments as just another example of his tendency to say “crazy stuff.”
“The president says crazy stuff. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change,” Sasse said,per CNN reporter Jeremy Herb.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the only GOP lawmaker who voted to convict Trump in his impeachment trial early this year, was more critical and alarmed than other Republicans in his response to the president’s comments. But the former GOP presidential nominee still did not explicitly mention or condemn Trump.
“Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” Romney tweeted on Thursday. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
Trump’s latest escalation in refusing to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 election comes after months of him spreading unsubstantiated and false claims that that mail ballots are rife with fraud and that foreign countries are planning on sending out counterfeit ballots.
All voter fraud and absentee-ballot fraud, in particular, is exceedingly rare.
According to the conservative Heritage Foundation’s own database of voter- and election-fraud cases, there have only been 1,100 criminal convictions for all voter fraud and 143 criminal convictions for fraudulent use of absentee ballots over the past 20 years.
The absentee ballot rate equals 7.1 convictions per year nationwide and an average of three convictions per state in the past 20 years, accounting for just 0.00006% of all votes cast in that time.
Both Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and members of the US intelligence community in the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have said there is no evidence that any foreign countries are planning on committing interference through the mail.
The Trump campaign’s legal team has sued multiple states to try to limit expansions over mail balloting, and Trump has now telegraphed for months that he’s likely to seriously dispute or contest election results in multiple states.
The impending legal battles are influencing the upcoming confirmation proceedings to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18 of cancer. Trump will announce his nominee to fill her seat at the White House on Saturday.
Trump has said explicitly on multiple occasions since Ginsburg’s death that he wants her replacement to be confirmed before the end of voting in the November 3 presidential election because he expects the US Supreme Court to have to resolve a dispute over the election’s winner, as the court did in the Bush v. Gore election dispute in 2000.