Republicans in a tizzy after Trump dodges question on peaceful transition of power if he loses

If he refuses to step down after losing the US Prez polls, US, which is riled by race violence, economic woes and a mounting COVID-19 toll, may slide into further chaos

US President Donald Trump (file photo)
US President Donald Trump (file photo)

Tathagata Bhattacharya

US President Donald Trump’s second run at presidency has thrown his own Republican Party colleagues in a tizzy. Never before has any US President refuse to commit to accept the results of the elections, thus blurring the prospects of a peaceful transition of power, a given for any mature democracy. Several prominent Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader in the US Senate, had to state that there would be a peaceful transfer of power on January 20. But they did not name Trump or did not criticise the President.

A reporter had asked Trump on Wednesday, September 24, if he would commit to a peaceful transition. Trump had replied, “We’re going to have to see what happens.” That had led to intense speculation as to what he had in his mind. With race trouble in full throttle, the US economy facing an intense unemployment and growth crisis, and well over 2,00,000 Coronavirus deaths, Trump’s decision to not leave White House (in case he loses to Democratic candidate Joe Biden) may spring an unprecedented crisis in modern US history which may see widespread violence and the state machinery being caught in a Catch-22 situation.

Trump had gone on to question the integrity of “the ballots” — apparently referring to mail-in voting, smething he called rife with fraud. He added fuel to fire by saying that if he were able to “get rid of” ballots and ensure a “continuation” rather than a “transfer,” it would be peaceful.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said, “Republicans believe in the rule of law, we believe in the Constitution, and that’s what dictates what happens in our election process.” He was asked if Trump refused to step down after losing the election, whether the Republicans would oppose him.

Senator Dan Sullivan, Republican Senator from Alaska, sounded confident of a peaceful transition of power though. “Of course we’re going to have a peaceful transition of power.We’re the United States of America. We’re not a banana republic,” he said.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, added in the same vein, “The peaceful transfer of power is a fundamental tenet of our democracy, and I am confident that we will see it occur once again.”

Trump is known for making extremely controversial comments on crucial issues from time to time.

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