Trump was asked at a White House press conference if he would commit to a peaceful transferal of power if he lost. Trump said, “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.”
Continuing his attack on voting by mail ― as millions of people prepare to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic ― Trump also alluded that he would accept the results only if the option of mail-in ballots is removed.
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful ... there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation,” he said.
For months, Trump has laid the groundwork to declare the election results illegitimate unless he wins. In July, he told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace that he’ll “have to see” if he’ll accept the results of the election.
His brazen comments Wednesday set Twitter afire as critics, including Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), voiced deep concerns about his disregard for democracy.
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.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) September 24, 2020
President Trump: You are not a dictator, and America will not permit you to be one. https://t.co/42krs0X50l— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 23, 2020
People who are very chill about the President not committing to the peaceful transfer of power unless they “get rid of the ballots” are too chill for me. This seems an awfully serious thing to be dismissive about. At the very least it’s a good reason to oppose him vigorously.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) September 23, 2020
This is possibly the most frightening 54 seconds of the Trump presidency. https://t.co/BBC7Zn4BXh— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) September 23, 2020
“Get rid of the ballots and there won’t be a transfer of power, there will be a continuation...”— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) September 23, 2020
Yes, one system is authoritarianism. Another is democracy where people cast ballots & ballots are counted. Thankfully, many are protecting the latter & ready for any scenario. #VOTE https://t.co/rMm6z4FB6m
Peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy.— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) September 24, 2020
This thinly veiled threat from the sitting President should send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving American. https://t.co/mmBnnorqU7
We impeached this president to hold him accountable, to make clear no one is above the law, and to save our democracy. Senate Republicans put party over country and let him off the hook.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 24, 2020
This is the result. But it won't be our future. We will have a peaceful transition of power. https://t.co/V7qfvxDfIc
The peaceful transfer of power is essential to a functioning democracy.— ACLU (@ACLU) September 24, 2020
This statement from the president of the United States should trouble all of us. https://t.co/pLYh9e8X3W
Pure fascist. And not a single republican in Congress gives a crap about it. https://t.co/UoAxl6OKZL— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) September 23, 2020
Never before has there been an exchange with a US President like this. God willing, never again.— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) September 23, 2020
“Will you commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election?”
President Trump: "We're gonna have to see what happens."pic.twitter.com/UTPXigckVt
THREAD. It is important to take note and be prepared for the unprecedented actions Trump says he intends to take after the election. But it is also important not to allow his *wishful* reality to *become the reality. To do that, consider Trump's psychological POV right now: https://t.co/faXkQw2BMn— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 2020
2. Every time Trump spouts this kind of garbage, he is revealing that he is TERRIFIED. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Terrified. His **existential** fear is losing. And he knows that there is a very good chance he is going to lose. And he can't do a damn thing about it. He will be a LOSER.— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 2020
3. Remember that in pretty much every instance Trump has faced like this in the past, he's had an exit strategy. He walks away. But he can't get out of the election. He's like a mail-order bride who has to go through with it. Except in his case, if he loses, he may end up in jail— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 2020
4. This situation is like the coronavirus. He understands the reality, he knows he can't escape it, so his only option is to create an alternate reality. Reality, however, caught up with him with COVID. So it is up to YOU to make sure the same happens with the election.— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 2020
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.