The President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not commit to a peaceful transition of power should it lose the elections in November.
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” the president said at a press conference at the White House. “You know that.”
Trump he also said he believed the outcome of the election could end up in the country’s Supreme Court, because of doubts about the postal vote raised again by him.
More states are encouraging postal votes, citing the need to maintain the necessary social distance due to the coronavirus.
The statements by the American president have increased tensions in the United States, as the country has had some “ghosts” in the past in its electoral process – such as legal disputes in the Supreme Court.
What Trump said?
Trump he was asked by a reporter last night whether he was committing to a peaceful power transition “winning, losing or drawing” with Democrat Joe Biden. The president is currently behind Biden in the polls, with 40 days to go before the election.
“I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots,” he said Trump, in reference to the postal vote, which he believes is vulnerable to fraud. “Ballots are a disaster.”
When the journalist said “the people are protesting”, Trump replied: “We want to get rid of the notes, and you will have a very … you will have a very peaceful one … there will be no transfer, frankly, there will be continuity”.
In 2016, Trump he had also refused to commit to accepting the election results during his campaign, and was accused by rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, of attacking democracy.
Eventually he won the election, even though he received three million fewer votes than Hillary in the overall vote count, a result he questioned.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney, who is one of the few in the party Trump who criticizes the president, tweeted on Wednesday: “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without it, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president will not respect this constitutional guarantee is unthinkable and unacceptable.”
What do Democrats say?
Speaking to journalists in Delaware, Biden said comments from Trump about transition of power are “irrational”.
His campaign said it was ready for any “malice” by the president.
The Democratic team also said that “the American government is perfectly capable of escorting any invader out of the White House”.
Biden himself was accused of causing uncertainty in the elections by declaring in August: “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in the United States if Donald Trump re-elected? “
Last month, Clinton made an appeal to Biden not to acknowledge defeat “under any circumstances” if the result is tight.
She raised the possibility that Republicans would try to “mess up absentee ballots” and mobilize an army of lawyers to challenge the outcome.
What Trump talked about the Supreme Court?
Earlier on Wednesday, the President of the United States defended his decision to seek the appointment of a new judge to the Supreme Court before the presidential election, saying that he expects the outcome of the election to reach the court. Usually made up of nine judges, the Supreme Court now has a vacant seat after Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last Friday.
“I think that [a eleição] it will end in the Supreme Court and I think it is very important to have nine judges, “said the president.” I think it is better to do this before the elections, because I think this coup that the Democrats are plotting – it is a coup – the coup will be carried out United States Supreme Court. “
Trump he was apparently referring to his controversial claims that ballots in the mail are vulnerable to fraud.
The president said he will nominate a female candidate for the Supreme Court this Saturday, replacing Ginsburg.
Supporters of Trump they hope that his nominee, if confirmed by the United States Senate, will consolidate a conservative rise in the country’s highest court, with 6 conservative judges against 3 liberals.
All losing US presidential candidates in modern times have conceded defeat, even in very tight electoral results. This includes 1960, when John F. Kennedy narrowly beat Richard Nixon, and in 2000, when George W Bush beat Al Gore in Florida.
Is postal voting vulnerable to fraud?
The number of postal votes is expected to increase significantly this time due to public health concerns about the coronavirus.
But Ellen Weintraub, commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, said: “There is simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail will lead to fraud.”
There have been isolated cases of electoral fraud, such as in the 2018 primaries in North Carolina, that needed to be carried out again after an adviser to the Republican candidate tampered with the voting papers.
There was also a case this year in New Jersey in which two Democratic city councilors were accused of fraudulent postal voting, after hundreds of ballots were found in a mailbox.
But the overall rate of electoral fraud in the United States is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%, according to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice.
Postal bills are more likely to disappear, however, according to research by Charles Stewart, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He estimated that the number of votes lost by the postal voting system in the 2008 election may have been up to 7.6 million, or one in five individuals who tried to mail their ballots.