By AAMER MADHANI and KEVIN FREKING
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back Thursday after President Donald Trump again declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Trump said during a Wednesday news conference, “We’re going to have to see what happens,” responding to a question. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
But McConnell and other top Republicans had no hesitation in committing to an orderly transfer if Trump loses.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” McConnell said in a tweet. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally and chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, “If Republicans lose we will accept the result. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Joe Biden, I will accept that result.”
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a member of the House GOP leadership, tweeted: “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.”
It is highly unusual that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process. But Trump also declined four years ago to commit to honoring the election results if his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won.
Biden, his current Democratic challenger, was asked about Trump’s comment after landing in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday night.
“What country are we in?” Biden asked incredulously, adding: “I’m being facetious. Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say about it. But it doesn’t surprise me.”
Trump has been pressing a monthslong campaign against mail-in voting this November by tweeting and speaking out critically about the practice. More states are encouraging mail-in voting to keep voters safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The president, who uses mail-in voting himself, has tried to distinguish between states that automatically send mail ballots to all registered voters and those, like Florida, that send them only to voters who request a mail ballot.