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GOP pushes back on Trump’s threat to not abide by election results

Bloomberg September 25 | Updated on September 25, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

The President has raised questions about the security and legitimacy of mass mailed-in ballots, without offering evidence

Republican lawmakers vowed that the presidential transition after November’s election will occur without disruption, in a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

The winner of the November 3 election will be inaugurated on January 20, tweeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.

Trump had said that “we’re going to have to see what happens,” in response to a reporter’s question at a White House news conference about a peaceful transfer of power. He said, “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

The President has raised questions about the security and legitimacy of mass mailed-in ballots, without offering evidence.

Also read: Trump: Kamala Harris will never be president

Adding to pushback, the Senate agreed by unanimous consent to a resolution on Thursday afternoon by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia reaffirming support for a peaceful, orderly transition of power.

“Its a shame that we have to come and reaffirm our commitment to our country,” said Manchin. “To have the leader of the free world talk as if were an autocracy, authoritarian versus democracy, is something that alarmed me and alarmed a lot of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” he said.

Separately, Republican Senator Roy Blunt delivered remarks on the Senate floor aimed at assuring the public about the integrity of the voting system.

“Every time we needlessly get into a discussion about whether this process is fair or safe, I think its harmful,” Blunt said. He added, “The system is going to work.”

No evidence of voting fraud

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Director Christopher Wray told a Senate Homeland panel hearing on Thursday that the FBI has seen no evidence of an organised voter fraud effort that could change the results of a presidential election.

“Certainly to change a federal election outcome by mounting that kind of fraud at scale would be a major challenge for an adversary,” Wray said.

The FBI also put out a warning against voter fraud, including tampering with ballots or voting more than once. Trump, at one point, urged his supporters to attempt to vote in-person after casting mail-in ballots in order to make sure their votes were counted.

“The FBI is asking each citizen to remain vigilant and report any suspected criminal scheme targeting voters to the FBI immediately,” said Wray.

Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed alarm at Trump’s comments, with Schumer calling the President the gravest threat to American democracy.

Also read: Trump looks west, eyes new paths to White House

Schumer accused Trump of saying that if he wins, the election is legitimate and if he loses its rigged, and he might just stay in office and not count the ballots.

“Any suggestion that a President might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable,” Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the Republican Partys 2012 presidential nominee, tweeted on Wednesday.

Senator Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, said the real issue is whether supporters of Democratic nominee Joe Biden will accept the outcome when Trump wins a second term.

“I think his message was crystal clear, he expects to win so he doesn’t have to worry about that,” Rounds said, who dismissed the idea that Republicans need to send the President a message calling in him to respect the electoral process.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted Thursday, “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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Published on September 25, 2020
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