White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said President Trump will accept the results of a “free and fair election” after being pressed on his comments about a peaceful transfer of power from earlier this week.
“The president will accept the results of a free and fair election,” McEnany replied. When pressed again if he would accept the results if he loses, she said: “He will accept the results of a free and fair election.”
“I think that your question is more fitting to be asked of Democrats who have already been on the record saying they won’t accept the results of an election,” the press secretary continued.
On Wednesday a reporter asked the president, “Win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?”
Trump sidestepped, turning to his frequent assertion that mail-in voting could lead to widespread voter fraud. Despite his assertions, voting experts have said that mail-in voting is a safe and secure way to cast your ballot.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said during the White House news conference. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
The reporter, Brian Karem of Playboy, pressed the president, noting the riots that have popped up in some American cities over the summer.
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said, referring to mail-in ballots. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”
In July, Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace he wouldn’t commit to accepting the results of the 2020 election prematurely.
“I’m not going to just say yes, I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time, either,” he said.
Questioned about Trump’s comments, Democratic nominee Joe Biden rhetorically asked “What country are we in? He says the most irrational things.”
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, of Utah, also criticized the president’s words, writing in a tweet, “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.”
When asked if Trump would accept a peaceful transfer of power, House Speaker Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters, “It’s really sad you even have to ask that question.”
“We know who he admires. [Vladimir] Putin. Kim Jong-un. [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan,” she continued. “You are not in Russia. He is not in North Korea. He is not in Turkey.
“He’s trying to have the Constitution of the United States swallow Clorox,” Pelosi said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in response to the president’s remarks said on the Senate floor Thursday morning that the biggest threat to American democracy does not come from abroad, but from the White House.
“Get rid of voting, get rid of the ballots, just let him stay in power for whatever illicit way he chooses to do so. That’s what he’s saying,” Schumer claimed.
“Now everyone, from schoolchildren to the most senior among us know that the peaceful transfer of power is one of democracy’s core attributes,” he continued. “There is no democracy without it.”
“The gravest threat to American democracy right now is President Donald Trump,” he added.
“President Trump you are not a dictator and America will not permit you to be one,” Schumer said, adding that “the votes will be counted” and “the results of the election must be accepted.”
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured the public that the election and inauguration processes will take place the same way they always have.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” McConnell tweeted. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.