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Trump Won't Commit to Peaceful Transfer09/24 06:07

   President Donald Trump on Wednesday again declined to commit to a peaceful 
transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential election.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday again declined to 
commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential 
election.

   "We're going to have to see what happens," Trump said at a news conference, 
responding to a question about whether he'd commit to a peaceful transfer of 
power. "You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, 
and the ballots are a disaster."

   It is highly unusual that a sitting president would express less than 
complete confidence in the American democracy's electoral process. But he also 
declined four years ago to commit to honoring the election results if his 
Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won.

   His current Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, was asked about Trump's 
comment after landing in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday night.

   "What country are we in?" Biden asked incredulously, adding: "I'm being 
facetious. Look, he says the most irrational things. I don't know what to say 
about it. But it doesn't surprise me."

   Trump has been pressing a monthslong campaign against mail-in voting this 
November by tweeting and speaking out critically about the practice. More 
states are encouraging mail-in voting to keep voters safe amid the coronavirus 
pandemic.

   The president, who uses mail-in voting himself, has tried to distinguish 
between states that automatically send mail ballots to all registered voters 
and those, like Florida, that send them only to voters who request a mail 
ballot.

   Trump has baselessly claimed widespread mail voting will lead to massive 
fraud. The five states that routinely send mail ballots to all voters have seen 
no significant fraud.

   Trump on Wednesday appeared to suggest that if states got "rid of" the 
unsolicited mailing of ballots there would be no concern about fraud or 
peaceful transfers of power.

   "You'll have a very peaceful --- there won't be a transfer frankly," Trump 
said. "There'll be a continuation. 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."

   In a July interview, Trump similarly refused to commit to accepting the 
results.

   "I have to see. Look ... I have to see," Trump told Chris Wallace during a 
wide-ranging July interview on "Fox News Sunday." "No, I'm not going to just 
say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time either."

   The Biden campaign responded Wednesday: "The American people will decide 
this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of 
escorting trespassers out of the White House."

   The American Civil Liberties Union also protested Trump's remarks. "The 
peaceful transfer of power is essential to a functioning democracy," National 
Legal Director David Cole said. "This statement from the president of the 
United States should trouble every American."

   Trump made similar comments ahead of the 2016 election. When asked during an 
October debate whether he would abide by the voters' will, Trump responded that 
he would "keep you in suspense."

   It's unlikely that any chaos in states with universal mail-in voting will 
cause the election result to be inaccurately tabulated, as Trump has suggested.

   The five states that already have such balloting have had time to ramp up 
their systems, while four states newly adopting it --- California, New Jersey, 
Nevada and Vermont --- have not. Washington, D.C., is also newly adopting it.

   Of those nine states, only Nevada is a battleground, worth six electoral 
votes and likely to be pivotal only in a national presidential deadlock.

   California, New Jersey, Vermont and D.C. are overwhelmingly Democratic and 
likely to be won by Biden.

 
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