Vastavam Web: President Trump declined an opportunity on Wednesday to endorse a peaceful transfer of power after the November election, renewing his baseless warnings about extensive voting fraud before saying there would be no power transfer at all.
Asked whether he would “commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election,” Mr. Trump demurred, passing on a chance to call for a calm and orderly election process.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” he told a reporter during a news conference at the White House. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.” Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he needed to swiftly confirm a successor for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg because he expected disputes over the election result to be resolved by the Supreme Court, which could split 4-to-4 if a ninth justice is not seated.
“He’s threatening the election process and saying out loud what everyone has assumed he’s been thinking,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of American political history at Princeton University. “The more he makes these arguments, the more he normalizes the fact that this can be part of the conversation.”
Hours after Mr. Trump’s assertions, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, expressed alarm over the comments on Twitter. “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” Mr. Romney wrote. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
Mr. Trump’s remarks are a continuation of a long series. During an interview with Fox News in July, Mr. Trump similarly demurred when pressed by the network’s anchor, Chris Wallace, to “give a direct answer” about whether he would accept the election results regardless of the outcome.