By ALLISON PECORIN, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — While not mentioning him by name, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday morning pushed back on President Donald Trump’s declining to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, tweeting, “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.”
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
Asked if he will leave the White House peacefully at a White House news conference Wednesday night, Trump responded, “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that.”
When pressed for a second time if he would “commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferral of power,” Trump again turned to his baseless claim of widespread fraud involving mail-in ballots.
“We want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly,” Trump said. “There’ll be a continuation.”
The Republican who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, told “Fox and Friends” Thursday morning there was nothing to worry about.
“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 … and if Republicans lose we’ll accept the result,” Graham said, noting a court challenge was a key reason why Trump’s nominee needed to be confirmed by the election.
GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was more pointed in his reaction in a tweet overnight, saying a peaceful transition of power was “fundamental to democracy,” but he also did not call out Trump by name.
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
Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican who has pushed back at Trump previously, tweeted a peaceful transfer of power is “fundamental to the survival of our Republic.”
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.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 24, 2020
The second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois, called Trump “a real danger to the Constitution.”
“This is frightening rhetoric from the President of the United States. What he said to the American people was, go ahead and vote if you wish. But I’m not sure I’ll accept your vote as the real sentiment of America. That questions the very foundation of our democracy, if a president does not accept the results of an election. It’s not the first time he’s said it, so we know that he’s convinced of how important that statement is. But the American people should be convinced that this president is a real danger to our Constitution,” he told reporters Thursday morning.
GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota wasn’t concerned.
“The president speaks in overly extreme manners on occasion, I didn’t find what he said last night to be overly extreme quite honestly. I just thought that what he’s making the point that we’ll see what happens after the election,” Cramer said.
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