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Home / World News / Trump non-commital on peaceful transfer of power after election

Trump non-commital on peaceful transfer of power after election

If it was a fair and free election, Trump claimed, there will be “continuation” of power, and not transfer.

world Updated: Sep 24, 2020, 20:12 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a news conference at the White House on September 23.
US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters during a news conference at the White House on September 23.(Reuters)

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday refused to commit himself to allow a peaceful transfer of power if he lost his November 3 re-election bid, raising the largely unfounded prospect of widespread fraud in mail-in ballots.

If it was a fair and free election, Trump claimed, there will be “continuation” of power, and not transfer.

This is not the first time he was non-committal on the issue, taking the same stance most recently in an interview to Fox News. And as a candidate in 2016, he had refused to say he will accept the outcome of the election if he lost.

“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said on Wednesday when asked by a reporter at a White House briefing if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power. “You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.”

Trump has been campaigning against large-scale use of mail-in ballots for the upcoming elections, alleging, without any evidence, that it will be used for election fraud by Democrats.

There are two kinds of mailing ballot systems: universal mail-in voting, when states send ballots to all eligible voters; and absentee balloting, when a voter is sent a mail on request. President Trump himself has voted by mail. In 2016, nearly a quarter of all votes polled were cast by mail.

More states are resorting to widespread use of mail-in voting for the November 3 elections because of concerns about the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very ...very peaceful ... there won’t be a transfer, frankly,” Trump said at the briefing, adding, “there’ll be a continuation.”

As before, President Trump’s refusal to give a commitment kicked up a storm.

“What country are we in? I’m being facetious,” said Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president when asked for a response to the president’s remarks. “I said what country are we in? Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say.”

Backlash came also from Republicans. “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” said Mitt Romney, a Republican senator and a former candidate for president, referring to the unrest in the former Soviet nation caused by the sitting president’s efforts to cling on to power in an allegedly rigged election.

“Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable,” he added.

Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman, 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.”

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