‘Mr Trump, this is not North Korea’

Politi­cians wor­ried pres­i­dent won’t go

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON: Top Repub­li­cans and Democrats pushed back hard on Thurs­day against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s sug­ges­tion he might not ac­cept de­feat in the Novem­ber elec­tion, warn­ing him the US was not “North Korea”.

A day af­ter the US leader re­fused to clearly guar­an­tee a peace­ful trans­fer of power, Repub­li­can Se­nate Speaker Mitch McCon­nell felt it nec­es­sary to as­sure Amer­i­can vot­ers that the win­ner of the Nov 3 elec­tion would take of­fice as planned in Jan­uary.

The FBI, meanwhile, im­plic­itly re­jected Mr Trump’s sug­ges­tion that mas­sive fraud was in the works with the surge in mailed-in bal­lots — while it warned of dis­in­for­ma­tion about the is­sue.

Mr Trump sparked out­rage on Wed­nes­day sug­gest­ing he might not hon­our the re­sults of the elec­tion or treat mail-in bal­lots as le­git­i­mate.

Asked at a White House press con­fer­ence whether if he is com­mit­ted to the peace­ful han­dover of power if de­feated, Mr Trump replied: “Well, we’re go­ing to have to see what hap­pens.”

“You know that I’ve been com­plain­ing very strongly about the bal­lots, and the bal­lots are a dis­as­ter,” he said.

Mr Trump re­peated his claim that mailed bal­lots can­not be trusted in a ra­dio in­ter­view early on Thurs­day.

Pressed on his re­marks, White House spokes­woman Kayleigh McE­nany told re­porters: “The pres­i­dent will ac­cept the re­sults of a free and fair elec­tion.”

Mr Trump’s re­marks cast­ing doubt on the trans­fer of power came as he sig­nif­i­cantly trails Demo­cratic ri­val Joe Bi­den in most na­tional polls on the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Mr McCon­nell, who wields sig­nif­i­cant power as the top Repub­li­can in Congress, felt it nec­es­sary to is­sue a state­ment seen as a veiled warn­ing to Mr Trump.

“The win­ner of the Novem­ber 3rd elec­tion will be in­au­gu­rated on Jan­uary 20th,” Mr McCon­nell tweeted.

“There will be an or­derly tran­si­tion just as there has been ev­ery four years since 1792.”

Other po­lit­i­cal lead­ers were more brusque.

“Fun­da­men­tal to democ­racy is the peace­ful tran­si­tion of power; with­out that, there is Be­larus,” Repub­li­can Se­na­tor Mitt Rom­ney tweeted.

Nancy Pelosi, the Demo­cratic House Speaker, said it was nec­es­sary to re­mind Mr Trump, “You are not in North Korea, you are not in Tur­key, you are not in Rus­sia, Mr Pres­i­dent.”

Se­na­tor Bernie San­ders, who Mr Trump has as­sailed as an anti-Amer­i­can ex­treme left­ist, ex­co­ri­ated Mr Trump in a speech be­fore the Se­nate.

“Un­der Don­ald Trump, we have a pres­i­dent who has lit­tle re­spect for our con­sti­tu­tion or the rule of law,” said Mr San­ders, who ear­lier this year failed in a bid to win the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

Mr Trump, he said, is “first pres­i­dent in the history of this coun­try to refuse to com­mit to a peace­ful tran­si­tion of power if he loses the elec­tion.”

“What he is say­ing is that if he wins the elec­tion, that’s great. But if he loses, it’s rigged, be­cause the only way, the only way, he can lose is if it’s rigged.”

On the cam­paign trail Mr Trump has re­peat­edly made un­founded al­le­ga­tions that the elec­tion could be rigged by Democrats tak­ing ad­van­tage of a surge in vot­ing by mail due to the Covid-19 pan­demic.

On Wed­nes­day, he as­serted that the mailed-in votes will all be sus­pi­ciously cast for Mr Bi­den, and should not be counted.

“The bal­lots are out of con­trol,” he said.

“Get rid of the bal­lots and you will have a very peace­ful — there won’t be a trans­fer, frankly. There will be a con­tin­u­a­tion,” he said.

BLOOMBERG

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell walk­ing to his of­fice on Thurs­day.

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