Top Republicans have dismissed US President Donald Trump’s stunning refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election to Joe Biden this November.
On Wednesday September 23, Trump refused to commit to providing a peaceful transition of power after Election Day, lending further fuel to concerns he may not relinquish his office should he lose in November, but many Republicans on Capitol Hill, have now downplayed the remarks as merely rhetoric while others deflected questions about Trump’s comments.
No American president has refused to transmit power since 1792 so
Trump’s suggestion threatens a fundamental principle of American democracy.
“The President says crazy stuff. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change,” said Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday insisted he is not concerned by the remarks.
“Let me be very clear to you: It’ll be peaceful,” McCarthy said, adding, “no questions, no qualms, no concerns, it’s going to be peaceful.”
The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Thune of South Dakota, told CNN.
“Republicans believe in the rule of law, we believe in the Constitution, and that’s what dictates what happens (in) … our election process and so yes,”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured below) weighed in on Thursday, although he didn’t mention the president by name in a Thursday tweet.
“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,”
Mitt Romney of Utah, the only Senate Republican who voted to convict Trump during the President’s impeachment trial, said:
“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,”
Sen. Susan Collins, said she is “confident that we will see it occur once again.”, referring to a smooth transition of power.
“I don’t know what his thinking was, but we have always had a controlled transition between administrations. And I’m certain that if there’s a change in administrations, that we have the calmness as well. It’s fundamental to our democracy,” she said.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, in a difficult reelection race in South Carolina, said: “It will happen,” referring to an orderly transition. “I’m not worried about that. It’s the least of my concerns.”
Graham added: “If there’s a court challenge to the election, it will be decided in court. And the loser of the challenge will accept the results.”