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Wall Street Journal: Fears Trump could stop a peaceful transition of power are 'preposterous'

The Wall Street Journal editorial board on Friday said that fears President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE would stop a peaceful transition of power should he lose the November election are "preposterous."

Trump on Wednesday was pressed by reporters if he would accept the result of the November election.

“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said. “I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”   

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He has repeatedly claimed that the integrity of the election could be compromised due to increased mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, stating that the practice will lead to widespread voter fraud. There little evidence that vote-by-mail systems lead to voter fraud. 

His Wednesday remarks on the election caused a stir prompting backlash from critics and Democrats. 

The Journal's editorial board said that fears surrounding the president's remarks were "preposterous", noting that "on Jan. 20 his term legally ends" and laying out an additional list of reasons why the tradition will remain intact. 

"The media and intelligentsia have worked themselves into a frenzy over imaginary fears that Mr. Trump will somehow remain in office by force if he loses the 2020 election," the editorial read.

"Start with the obvious: The notion that Mr. Trump could stop a peaceful transition of power is preposterous. On Jan. 20 his term legally ends. If Congress hasn’t certified an Electoral College winner on that date—or settled a tie— Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVoters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus MORE will be President if she is still House Speaker."

The paper went on to assert that if Trump tried to remain in office after Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit Protect our world: How the Biden administration can save lives and economies worldwide MORE had been certified the winner, his actions would diminish his political support. 

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"GOP House and Senate leaders have already repudiated Mr. Trump’s remarks. If he tried to remain after Joe Biden was certified as the winner, his political support would collapse." 

Several Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Voters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus MORE (Ky.), have stated that there will be an "orderly" transition of power in 2021 following Trump's remarks. 

The Senate on Thursday passed a resolution reaffirming its support for the peaceful transition of power with unanimous consent. 

The Journal said the president made a mistake in making the comments, arguing that his remarks have fueled Democrats' "destructive ideas." 

"The sad reality is that Democratic opinion leaders have been waiting for a Reichstag fire moment from the minute Mr. Trump took office," the paper said.

"Their thirst to be vindicated has grown more intense as his term draws to a close. Perhaps they want to save face after misunderstanding their country and its citizens so fundamentally for four years. Mr. Trump should stop fueling their destructive ideas, because the legitimacy of election results is the bedrock of American democracy."

Democrats have knocked Trump's unwillingness to commit to a peaceful transition of power, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying Thursday that it's sad that the question has to be asked. 

“We want a peaceful transfer of power,” Pelosi said at a press conference when asked about Trump’s remarks. “It’s very sad that you even have to ask that question.”

Updated 5:39 p.m.