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Trump declines to commit to peaceful transfer of power
President Donald Trump declined on Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the November election, continuing to sow mistrust in the integrity of mail-in voting.
Asked by a reporter whether he would “commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election,” the president refused.
“We’re going to see what happens,” Trump responded. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” he added, seemingly referring to mail-in ballots. Trump has repeatedly accused Democrats of attempting to steal the election through mail-in ballots, which are expected to explode in use this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president repeated that allegation earlier Wednesday, although he has yet to offer any evidence to support it. He also said that the alleged voter fraud made it even more important to confirm a replacement to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, explaining that he believed the election would be decided in the courts.
“This scam that the Democrats are pulling — it’s a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court,” Trump said.
A peaceful transition of power has been a bedrock principle in the United States since the nation’s founding. “What country are we in?” Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, rhetorically asked in response to the president’s comments on Wednesday.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) also issued a forceful rejoinder: “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” he said on Twitter. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
According to The Atlantic, citing “sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels,” the Trump campaign is actively discussing contingency plans if the president loses re-election. “With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly,” according to the magazine.
The Constitution grants state legislators the power to pick members of the Electoral College however they see fit; there is no constitutional requirement that they follow the will of the popular vote in their state, although that has been the norm for decades.
New York Times: “President Trump said on Wednesday that the White House ‘may or may not’ approve new Food and Drug Administration guidelines that would toughen the process for approving a coronavirus vaccine, and suggested the plan ‘sounds like a political move.’ ”
“The pronouncement once again undercut government scientists who had spent the day trying to bolster public faith in the promised vaccine. Just hours earlier, four senior physicians leading the federal coronavirus response strongly endorsed the tighter safety procedures, which would involve getting outside expert approval before a vaccine could be declared safe and effective by the F.D.A.”
Washington Post: “Massive genetic study shows coronavirus mutating and potentially evolving amid rapid U.S. spread”
Associated Press: “Hours after a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police for Breonna Taylor’s death and protesters took to the streets, authorities said two officers were shot and wounded Wednesday night during the demonstrations expressing anger over the killings of Black people at the hands of police.”
. . . “The violence comes after prosecutors said two officers who fired their weapons at Taylor, a Black woman, were justified in using force to protect themselves after they faced gunfire from her boyfriend. The only charges were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s with people inside.”
Washington Post: “In unguarded moments with senior aides, President Trump has maintained that Black Americans have mainly themselves to blame in their struggle for equality, hindered more by lack of initiative than societal impediments, according to current and former U.S. officials.”
“After phone calls with Jewish lawmakers, Trump has muttered that Jews ‘are only in it for themselves’ and ‘stick together’ in an ethnic allegiance that exceeds other loyalties, officials said.”
“Trump’s private musings about Hispanics match the vitriol he has displayed in public, and his antipathy to Africa is so ingrained that when first lady Melania Trump planned a 2018 trip to that continent he railed that he ‘could never understand why she would want to go there.’ ”
All times Eastern.
President Donald Trump will pay respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court building, where she is lying in repose, at 10 a.m.
He will then deliver remarks on the “America First health care vision” in Charlotte, North Carolina, at 4:30 p.m. and deliver remarks at a campaign rally in Jacknsvoille, Florida, at 7 p.m.
Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at a campaign event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, at 12:05 p.m. and participate in a “Cops for Trump” listening session in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at 3:45 p.m.
The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. and resume consideration of the nomination of Roderick C. Young to be a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. The chamber will vote to confirm Young at some point today.
The House will convene at 9 a.m. and vote on H.R. 4447, the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act.
The Supreme Court is on its summer recess.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris have no public events scheduled.
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