Several key members of the Republican Party announced Thursday that they are committed to ensuring that there will be a peaceful transfer of power if Donald Trump loses the election to Joe Biden, Politico reported. The statements come following remarks that the president made that suggest he’s not going to willingly cede power if he loses.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Trump broadly suggested that he’ll continue to stay in office even if he loses the election. Specifically, he expressed concerns about the accuracy of mail-in ballots, which he has insisted will lead to a fraudulent election, and about the timeliness of the results of the election when it comes to voting by mail.
“[Get] rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very… there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation,” he said, adding that “the ballots are out of control.”
Further, when asked directly about ceding power, Trump replied, “well, we’ll have to see what happens.”
The comments were met with alarm from elements within both the left and the right, as The Hill reported, with California Democrat Adam Schiff going as far as to write, “this is how democracy dies.”
A day after the president made the remarks, some of his Republican allies are attempting to distance themselves from them.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, didn’t mention Trump’s name directly but did indicate that the transition between the Trump and Biden presidencies, should the election go to the former vice president, will be a smooth one.
“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,” he said.
Similarly, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, also without mentioning the president by name, promised a smooth transition.
As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election
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
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 24, 2020
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, however, did reference the president directly when asked about his remarks.
“He says crazy stuff. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change,” Sasse said.
Roy Blunt of Missouri and Chuck Schumer of New York also brushed off suggestions that there will be controversy between Election Day and Inauguration Day.
Chuck Grassley of Iowa, while also sticking to the theme of promising a peaceful transition, did obliquely suggest that Joe Biden might not accept the results of the election if Trump loses.
“I would have the same concern when Hillary Clinton advised Biden not to concede the election,” he said, referencing a statement the former first lady had made earlier.