Donald Trump has doubled down on his commitment to litigating the results of the 2020 presidential election results all the way up to the Supreme Court if he loses in November, saying mail-in ballots are “a horror show.”
Millions of Americans have voted by mail in past elections with no more than a handful of cases of election fraud.
This year, election officials expect to process more mail-in ballots than ever before as states urge voters to send in their selections through the postal system to mitigate possible exposure to Covid-19.
While Mr Trump continued throwing doubt on the integrity of the election results this year, he did say he would peacefully transfer power to his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, if the Supreme Court upholds a Biden victory.
“Oh, that I would agree with. But I think we have a long way before we get there. These ballots are a horror show,” the president said in an interview with Fox News Radio on Thursday.
At least one top GOP politician, House Republican Conference chairwoman Liz Cheney, has pushed back on the president’s ambiguity about a peaceful transfer of power.
“The peaceful transfer of power is enshrined in our Constitution and fundamental to the survival of our Republic. America’s leaders swear an oath to the Constitution. We will uphold that oath,” the Wyoming congresswoman, who is the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, tweeted early in the morning on Thursday.
The peaceful transfer of power is enshrined in our Constitution and fundamental to the survival of our Republic. America’s leaders swear an oath to the Constitution. We will uphold that oath.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 24, 2020
On Wednesday, Mr Trump refused to say if he would peacefully hand over the office of the presidency to Mr Biden, even though a reporter pressed him on the matter multiple times.
“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,” Mr Trump said at his press conference on Wednesday, which he later abruptly exited to take an “emergency” phone call.
When the reporter persisted in trying to get an answer out of Mr Trump, he doubled down on his unsubstantiated claims about rampant election fraud, a crime he has urged his own supporters to commit.
“Do you commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferral of power?” the reporter asked again.
“We want to get rid of the ballots, and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation,” Mr Trump replied.
“The ballots are out of control. You know it,” he added, to which the reporter objected, “No, I don’t know it.”
Mr Trump continued: “And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than everybody else.”
The fact the election results might end up in the Supreme Court’s hands is one of the many reasons the president believes Senate Republicans ought to ram through his nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before 3 November, he said earlier on Wednesday.
“I think it's better if you go before the election, because I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling — it's a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court,” the president told reporters at the White House, referring to mail-in votes.
“I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation, if you get that,” Mr Trump said of a Supreme Court that could be stalemated on the election results without its ninth justice.
Again, study upon study has shown virtually no large-scale voter fraud in the US in recent elections.