Politics Trump Branded 'Tinpot Tyrant,' Over 'Thinly Veiled Threat' on Peaceful Transfer of Power
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President Donald Trump has faced swift condemnation from Democratic lawmakers after refusing to confirm he would facilitate the peaceful transfer of power following election defeat.
Trump was asked at a press briefing on Wednesday: "Win, lose, or draw in this election, will you commit here, today, for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?"
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To which he responded: "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."
Following these remarks, criticism from political adversaries has mounted with the president's comments being derided as tyrannical.
"We are careening toward authoritarianism," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) wrote on Twitter.
"Like every tinpot tyrant, he thinks these threats project strength and resolve. But really he's panicking, desperate to hold on to power at the end of a failed presidency.
"It's not strength—it's pure weakness."
We are careening toward authoritarianism.
Like every tinpot tyrant, he thinks these threats project strength and resolve. But really heâs panicking, desperate to hold on to power at the end of a failed presidency.
Itâs not strength â itâs pure weakness. https://t.co/1fVEo5l7nl— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) September 24, 2020
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said the words appeared to be a "thinly veiled threat."
"Peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy," she wrote.
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Peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy.
This thinly veiled threat from the sitting President should send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving American. https://t.co/mmBnnorqU7— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) September 24, 2020
"This thinly-veiled threat from the sitting President should send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving American."
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) called for bipartisan condemnation of the remarks.
"The comments by President Trump tonight are as dangerous as they are undemocratic. They are unprecedented in our history. I implore leaders from both parties to take this seriously and condemn it forcefully," he wrote.
The comments by President Trump tonight are as dangerous as they are undemocratic. They are unprecedented in our history. I implore leaders from both parties to take this seriously and condemn it forcefully. https://t.co/A6DWRS1ibe— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) September 24, 2020
Trump's comments "threaten our very democracy," Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said.
"Our Founders made the crucial choice that our Constitution—the most enduring in the world—would not lead to a president with the impulses of a king unchecked by the other co-equal branches of government," he wrote.
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Trump's comments come after he previously refused to confirm if he would accept the results of the election.
Asked in May whether he would, during a Fox News interview, he said he would "have to see."
"No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time either," he said.
Trump has continually raised questions over the validity of the election result, suggesting mail-in voting could be open to widespread fraud, though there is no evidence of such rampant issues having occurred with its use in prior elections. This stance has even been questioned by Republican lawmakers.
He has said he supports absentee ballots, though said it is universal mail-in voting he takes issue with.
Newsweek has contacted the White House and the lawmakers mentioned for comment.
Video: Pres. Trump points to mail-in ballots, deflects from peaceful transfer of power (USA TODAY)
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