Trump declines to commit to peaceful transfer of power, drawing swift criticism on social media

John Fritze   | USA TODAY Show Caption Hide Caption Did Trump help bring the Big Ten back?Sports P

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John Fritze   | USA TODAY
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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump declined to commit Wednesday to providing a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, prompting a backlash on social media from critics who said it raised questions about his willingness to relinquish power.

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," Trump said when asked directly whether he would commit to a peaceful transition, assuming he lost the election.

"You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster," Trump told reporters, referring to state where ballots are mailed automatically to registered voters. "Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very a peaceful – there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”

In the past, including during the 2016 and 2020 elections, Trump has declined to say whether he would accept voters’ results, suggesting he wants to leave his options open to contest those results.

More: Trump says he wants to fill Supreme Court seat quickly in case election dispute

More: Trump to court Latino votes in Miami as campaigns battle for Florida 

Trump has also repeatedly joked at rallies that he would seek more than two terms, a line he uses to show how he “triggers” outrage about his Democratic critics.

Trump’s latest remarks drew a firestorm of criticism on Twitter. The peaceful transfer of power between U.S. presidential administration is a hallmark of the country's stability. 

“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,” tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. “This seems an awfully serious thing to be dismissive about. At the very least it’s a good reason to oppose him vigorously.”

Joe Lockhart, a former spokesman to President Bill Clinton, suggested that every Democratic member of Congress send a letter to the president “demanding he commit to the peaceful transition of power in writing. If he won't, impeachment is a viable option.”
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