During a Wednesday press conference, President Donald Trump was asked if he will provide a peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden, should he lose the upcoming presidential election and the response was a different one. Trump refused to confirm that he will, saying instead: "We'll see what happens." Trump went on to add, "You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster."
The AP notes that it is extremely unusual for a sitting U.S. President to seemingly disregard a crucial part of America's democratic electoral process. However, the outlet went on to also note that Trump expresses similar sentiments during the 2016 election, after being asked if he would accept the results of that outcome. Trump won the election four years ago after being awarded the most number of electoral college votes. His opponent, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, getting nearly three million more individual votes than Trump.
President Trump would not commit to providing a peaceful transition of power after Election Day, lending further fuel to concerns he may not relinquish his office should he lose in November.
"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," he said. https://t.co/sw0qiN5EUe— CNN (@CNN) September 23, 2020
Trump has long-criticized mail-in voting as being "rife with fraud," though numerous American agencies and outlets have fact-checked the claims — such as FactCheck.org — and found them to be baseless. In August, he took his fight against mail-in ballots to a new level, saying during a Fox Business Network interview that he was holding up a second stimulus bill due to Democrat leaders wanting to include funding for the USPS and mail-in ballots.
In the interview, Trump first claimed that Democrats were stalling the next stimulus bill, saying, "It's their fault. They want $3.5 billion for something that's fraudulent. For the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots."
Trump claims mail-in ballots are rife with fraud while absentee ballots — which he has used — require a voter to go through “a very strict process" that's "sometimes better" than a voting machine. In fact, the verification process is the same for both. https://t.co/ECXfn1Fojq— FactCheck.org (@factcheckdotorg) June 19, 2020
He continued: "They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots. [...] But if they don't get those two items, then they can't have mail-in ballots." Trump later admitted that he too was keeping the bill from progressing, so that he could withhold mail-in ballot funding. "If we don't make a deal, that means they won’t get the money and they won’t have universal mail-in voting."