In an exchange at the White House press conference Wednesday that shocked many Americans, Donald Trump refused to commit to a “peaceful transfer of power” should he lose the election and instead falsely suggested that the “ballots are out of control” ahead of voting day on Nov. 3.
“Win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?” a reporter asked. “There has been rioting in Louisville, there’s been rioting in many cities across this country, red and- your so-called red and blue states. Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election?”
“Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens,” Trump replied. “You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
View the extended exchange in the video below.
“I understand that, but people are rioting” the reporter countered. “Do you commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferal of power?”
That’s when Trump openly questioned the legitimacy of the ballots. “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation,” he said.
Trump then baselessly accused Democrats of engaging in electoral fraud: “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.”
While it wasn’t clear which ballots Trump was referring to, he has repeatedly advanced the false claim that mail-in voting is a source of voter fraud. On an almost universal basis, experts say this claim has no basis in fact. Also, the only credible example of such voter fraud in modern times involved a Republican political operative in North Carolina, who was indicted on multiple charges in 2019. Trump also voted by mail in the 2018 election and the 2020 Republican primary. He and wife Melania also requested mail-in ballots for the 2020 general election.
However, many states have expanded mail-in voting in order to reduce the risk of further spread of COVID-19, and Trump has repeatedly admitted that he believes mail-in voting would benefit Democrats more than Republicans. That claim also appears to be false, as is the accusation that Democrats are engaged in election cheating.
Watch the clip below:
Asked if he'd "commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferral of power after the election," win or lose, Pres. Trump replies, "Well, we're going to have to see what happens." https://t.co/JUzMGHCfwo pic.twitter.com/sSxuunLr2t
— ABC News (@ABC) September 23, 2020