Speaking with anchor Anderson Cooper, Friedman pointed to President Donald Trump’s reluctance to commit to a peaceful transition of power as evidence that America could soon face an enormous crisis.
“I began my career as a journalist covering Lebanon’s second civil war in its history, and I’m terrified to find myself ending my career as a journalist covering America’s potential second civil war in its history,” he said.
After being pressed by Cooper to say whether he really believes the upcoming election could result in armed conflict, Friedman doubled down on his predictions.
The columnist said that “what happened in the last few days is a six-alarm fire,” arguing that Trump’s recent statements clearly signal that he will only accept the results if he wins.
Friedman took aim at the Republican Party, condemning conservative lawmakers for failing to stand up to the commander-in-chief and stressed that Americans should be “terrified” of what is happening in Washington.
“If you’re not frightened now, if you are not terrified for what could happen, it’s not ‘We might have a disputed election.’ It is ‘We are going to have a disputed election, almost certainly,’ unless Trump wins, in which case I shudder to think what four more years of this would be like.”
Trump has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the event he is defeated by Joe Biden.
For the past few months, the president has been railing against mail-in voting, claiming that this form of voting is uniquely vulnerable to manipulation and fraud.
Government officials, including Trump-appointed FBI director Christopher Wray, have dismissed the president’s allegations as baseless, but he has nevertheless insisted that the upcoming contest cannot be legitimate as long as a large percentage of the population votes via mail.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle swiftly pushed back against Trump’s comments. On Thursday, the Republican-controlled Senate unanimously passed a measure reaffirming its support for a peaceful transition of power, per ABC News.
Authored by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the resolution said that the upper chamber will not allow the president or any other official to overturn the will of the American people.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Rep. Liz Cheney and several other Republicans issued strong statements rebuking Trump.