Senate passes resolution reaffirming commitment to peaceful transition of power
The Senate passed a resolution on Thursday reaffirming its support for a peaceful transition of power, one day after President Trump refused to commit to such a transition next year if he loses in the November election.
The resolution, offered by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), passed by unanimous consent, meaning no senator objected to it.
“We’re in the most difficult times right now, and for the president to even address — to even address the subject of maybe not knowing if he would accept or not is beyond all our checks that that would ever happen in America,” Manchin said.
“I believe to have the leader of the free world talk as if we are an autocracy, authoritarian versus a democracy, is something that alarmed me and alarmed a lot of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, even those quiet as some may be, I know they’re alarmed,” he added.
In the non-binding resolution, the Senate reaffirms “its commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States.”
It also throws the Senate’s support behind the idea that “there should be no disruptions by the president or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States.”
Trump has sparked bipartisan backlash after he told reporters at the White House that he would have to “see what happens” when asked if he would commit to ensuring a peaceful transition of power if he loses in November. He also tried once again to sow doubt about the security of mail-in ballots.
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”
Trump has repeatedly declined to commit to accepting the results of the November election, saying he will “have to see.” He’s also argued that an increase in mail-in voting leads to fraud in the election, even though experts have repeatedly said there is no evidence tying it to meaningful fraud.
His comments consumed the Capitol on Thursday, turning focus off of a burgeoning Supreme Court fight and onto if Republicans stood by his comments, forcing many of them to seek distance from the leader of their party weeks ahead of the November election.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — who frequently refuses to weigh in on Trump’s remarks, even when other members of his caucus do — pushed back at Trump via a tweet.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792,” McConnell said.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), McConnell’s No. 2, indicated that he believed Republicans would stand up to Trump if he lost the election and refused to hand over power in January.
“Republicans believe in the rule of law. We believe in the Constitution and that’s what dictates what happens … so yes,” Thune said when asked if he thought congressional Republicans would stand up to Trump.
—Updated at 4:05 p.m.
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