“There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792,” said Mitch McConnell.
Congressional Republicans gently pushed back Thursday against President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election.
Hill Republicans suggested in statements Thursday morning that this year’s election would be no different than previous ones and reiterated that the Constitution guarantees that whoever loses must cede the presidency. But no one condemned Trump directly by name.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”
“As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate [and] fair election,” added Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one. And at noon on Jan 20, 2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.”
House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of the few Republicans willing to publicly rebuke the president, said Thursday that transferring power “is enshrined in our Constitution and fundamental survival of our Republic” and vowed that American leaders would uphold their oath to the Constitution. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), a former chair of the House Republicans’ campaign arm, echoed her remarks.
Some Senate Republicans dismissed Trump’s remarks as more of the same.
“He says crazy stuff,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) “We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change”
Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox News Thursday that a successful transition of power could depend on whether there are nine Supreme Court Justices.
“I can assure you, it will be peaceful,” Graham said. “Now we may have litigation about who won the election. But the court will decide, and if the Republicans lose, we will accept that result. But we need a full court, and I think that’s possible before the election.”
The strongest GOP reproach to Trump’s reluctance to commit to transferring power peacefully came not surprisingly from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the only Senate Republican who voted to remove the president from office this year during the impeachment trial.
“Fundamental to democracy is the transition of power,” Romney said Wednesday evening. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
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