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Top U.S. Republicans promise peaceful transition after Trump sows doubts

Politics Sep 24, 2020 05:40PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. U.S. Senate Majority Leader McConnell walks to the Senate floor in the U.S. Capitol in Washington 2/2

By Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans on Thursday repudiated President Donald Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, assuring American voters the lawmakers would accept the outcome of November's election.

Trump declined on Wednesday to embrace a peaceful transfer in response to a reporter's question and said he expected his election battle with Democrat Joe Biden to be settled by the Supreme Court.

The Republican president's exchange with reporters set off a fury that prompted several Republicans in Congress to distance themselves from Trump.

Despite nearly four years of incendiary statements by Trump, members of his own party have regularly been loath to criticize him, as many feared political retribution.

"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," McConnell wrote in a morning tweet.

Like other Republicans, McConnell did not directly criticize Trump.

By midday, with no sign of the controversy abating, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told a news briefing: "The president will accept the results of a free and fair election."

But for months, Trump has cast the November election as being rigged and repeatedly attacked Democrats for promoting the widespread use of mail-in ballots for voters who do not want to risk contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus by casting their ballots at potentially crowded polling centers.

In an interview on Fox News Radio, Trump called mail-in ballots "a horror show," despite studies showing no significant problems with that method of voting over the years.

Democrats accused Trump of threatening American democracy and further politicizing his upcoming choice to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by suggesting the yet-to-be named nominee would intervene in the election's outcome.

Some of McConnell's fellow Republicans joined the effort to quell election fears, including Senators Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who told reporters: "It will be a smooth transition regardless of the outcome."

Trump, who trails Biden in national opinion polls, has long sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, asserting without evidence that mail-in voting would be rife with fraud.

"President Trump, you are not a dictator and America will not permit you to be one," said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who took to the Senate floor to call the president "the gravest threat" to U.S. democracy.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who aligns with Democrats and who lost to Biden in the party's presidential nominating race, called for an independent commission to oversee the upcoming election.

Democratic House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi cautioned against panicking over the remarks of a president who she said admires autocratic leaders. At a news conference, she urged Americans to cast their ballots and admonished Trump: "You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey, you are not in Russia."

COURT CHALLENGES

If November's election is close, Trump could contest the results in federal courts in hopes of being awarded enough Electoral College votes to retain the White House, according to political analysts.

Only one U.S. presidential election, the 2000 contest between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, has had its outcome determined by the Supreme Court.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (NYSE:GHM), a Trump ally who will play a significant role in the review of Trump's forthcoming nominee to fill the Ginsburg vacancy, said there could be litigation over the presidential election. "The (Supreme) Court will decide and if the Republicans lose, we will accept that result," Graham told Fox News. "But we need a full court."

If Trump nominates a conservative jurist to serve on the Supreme Court, as expected, and the Republican-controlled Senate confirms the nominee, the high court will be made up of six justices considered to be conservative and three viewed as liberals.

Top U.S. Republicans promise peaceful transition after Trump sows doubts
 

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Comments (13)
Dan OGrady
Dan OGrady Sep 26, 2020 4:37PM ET
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To sum up: Trump says we should get rid of ballots (people's voice) and let his cronies on a stolen supreme court decide. His lying cowardly sycophants in congress agree as well as his ignorant supporters.
Dan Hodel
Dan Hodel Sep 25, 2020 9:06PM ET
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If he loses, you sheep are going to be in my scope too. If he doesn’t leave, we will ****him out with guns to his head. His depends will fill up bigly.
Otto Gonzalez
Otto Gonzalez Sep 24, 2020 8:37PM ET
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4 more years folks... if you don't like this country you can always leave...go protest in China.. see what happens...or try north Korea...or Venezuela....thats what these dirty liberals want... lol.. make me laugh... those democrats are a political joke....
Adrian White
Adrian White Sep 24, 2020 8:37PM ET
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Otto, I think you're confused. It's Trump who admires those countries and their autocratic leaders, not "those Democrats" you refer to. Don't conflate dislike of a very polarizing president with dislike of the country. They're very separate things.
Don Getty
Don Getty Sep 24, 2020 5:57PM ET
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damage control after donald von stalin took the US for a democracy to a dictatorship - whatch ya gonna do Moscow Mitch lol
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Sep 24, 2020 5:14PM ET
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There's NOTHING to split over. The reporter's gotcha question didn't deserve an answer. He should take a hard look at which party is known for contesting elections. Wow! The hypocrisy from the left never fails to astound the world. This is more Reuters drivel..
Adrian White
Adrian White Sep 24, 2020 5:14PM ET
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Silence Dogwood, contesting a close election is one thing, but making unfounded claims of "widespread fraud" before the election even occurs, intentionally trying to sow seeds of doubt in the integrity of the election system, and claiming that the election will "be rigged" (only if he loses, of course) is something totally different.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Sep 24, 2020 5:14PM ET
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Adrian White  Adrianne - The Dems are already doing everything possible to rig this election AND they're the ones who have publicly stated that if Sniffy loses, they will without a doubt question the results so they can continue to claim President Trump is not legitimate. They also have threatened the nation that they will "burn the whole thing down" if they lose. Your fascist anarchist comrades are trying to hold all Americans hostage and threaten more racist attacks and violence if they don't "get their way". Your liberal tears will be even more delicious this time around. I can't wait to guzzle my fill.
Tru Gfu
Tru Gfu Sep 24, 2020 3:55PM ET
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We are supposed to believe that Moscow Mitch, who has not contradicted Trump once and even giving him a sham impeachment trial and refusing to hear evidence, will, at the 11th hour challenge Trump and save democracy from Tyranny? If you believe that I have a bridge for sale.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Sep 24, 2020 3:55PM ET
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You can keep the bridge you bought... from the socialist fascists..
Don Getty
Don Getty Sep 24, 2020 3:55PM ET
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Silence Dogood  good name for donald von stalin - socalist dictatorship - chip off of putins block
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Sep 24, 2020 3:55PM ET
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Don Getty  Your comments make as much sense as your beloved Sniffy Biden's.
Donald Dillow
Donald Dillow Sep 24, 2020 12:49PM ET
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Threre will be no new transfer of power
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Sep 24, 2020 12:42PM ET
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Trump speaks again.....welcome to North Korea, comrades....
Mike ND
Mike ND Sep 24, 2020 12:42PM ET
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Biden will turn americans economy into north korea
Ed Glass
EddieG Sep 24, 2020 12:01PM ET
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Do nothing REPUBLICANS, will do NOTHING to defend the constitution. It will be RUSSIAN style democracy. Pyschopathic fascist dictator Drumpf 2020.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Sep 24, 2020 12:01PM ET
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You're sadly confused. It's the "do-nothing Dems". Always has been - always will be. You should own your monikers proudly.
Don Getty
Don Getty Sep 24, 2020 12:01PM ET
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Silence Dogood  lets see they fixed things after bush crashed the country, they gave americans health care, they started the longest bull market in history - yup do nothin guys - then you got the republicans they gave the rich people a tax cut, tried to get rid of health care and failed in the greatest crisis to hit america in 100 years - remember covid is a hoax, less than the flu and would magically disappear so many times that pinnochio's nose can now touch the sun!
Teufel Dog
Teufel Sep 24, 2020 11:50AM ET
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So, no mention, or outrage, or constitutional crisis hand-wringing about HRC advising Biden publicly only a few weeks ago to not concede the election “under any circumstance”...because of likely issues with absentee voting...and because it will likely have to play out in court? (Gee, sounds similar to the President’s reason not to say that he will immediately concede the election). Oh, I see, just the usual one sided reporting and hypocrisy, time to move on with my day. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/hillary-clinton-says-biden-should-not-concede-2020-election-under-n1238156
Teufel Dog
Teufel Sep 24, 2020 11:50AM ET
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“The United States government is perfectly capable of preventing trespassers from entering the White House.” -There, see, I can do it too.
Teufel Dog
Teufel Sep 24, 2020 11:50AM ET
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Also, I don’t know why it’s hard to understand what the President is talking about when it comes to mail in voting...as part of the military I’ve had to vote by absentee ballot many times...and each time I’ve had to request a ballot and affirm under signed oath that I am who I say I am in order to receive a ballot. Absentee voting (which is requesting a ballot and applying in writing to vote by mail) is much different than what the President is cautioning against...which is the “unsolicited” mailing of ballots to people who didn’t request one.
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Sep 24, 2020 11:50AM ET
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Teufel Dog If he refuses to leave, we’ll hang him by his fake toupe.....
Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson Sep 24, 2020 11:50AM ET
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Thom Miller I liked that one! lol
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Sep 24, 2020 11:50AM ET
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@ Teufel - EXACTLY!
 
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