Pelosi worries Trump 'would poison the public mind' if he narrowly loses reelection bid

Kadia Tubman

The only way President Trump will accept defeat in the 2020 election is if Democrats win by a big enough margin that he can’t dispute it, argues House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“If we win by four seats, by a thousand votes each, he’s not going to respect the election,” said Pelosi in an interview with the New York Times.

“He would poison the public mind. He would challenge each of the races; he would say you can’t seat these people,” she added, and referenced the 40 House seats gained by Democrats in 2018 midterm elections. “We had to win. Imagine if we hadn’t won — oh, don’t even imagine. So, as we go forward, we have to have the same approach.”

After Democrats won the House popular vote by the largest midterm margin since the Watergate scandal, Trump conceded that “from a dealmaking standpoint, we are all much better off the way it turned out.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

But Pelosi fears a small-margin victory would be challenged by Trump, who, leading up to the midterm elections reportedly planned to legally challenge Democrats if they won by five or seven seats, and also made unverified claims about voter fraud.

“All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING,” Trump tweeted a few weeks before the elections. “Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!”

Since their 2018 victory, Democrats have wielded their newfound power at Trump, including subpoenas for his tax returns; investigations into obstruction of justice; corruption and abuse of power irrespective of the Mueller investigation; and calls for impeachment.

But Pelosi, who doesn’t support the “exuberances” of her party, like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, says “it is imperative not to play into the president’s hands, especially on impeachment.”

Instead of attacking the president on the Mueller probe, which, despite finding no conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia and came to no conclusion on obstruction, listed several actions taken by Trump that Democrats argue rise to the level of obstruction of justice, Pelosi has channeled her outrage at Attorney General William Barr who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. She accused Barr of lying to Congress, an act that she called a crime.

Meanwhile, as Democrats continue to demand an unredacted Mueller report, President Trump’s reelection campaign is in full swing, as his team focuses on six battleground states (Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia and Pennsylvania), the Latino vote, Facebook attack ads and a “Let Trump Be Trump” ethos.

Pelosi’s “coldblooded” strategy for a 2020 victory: “Do not get dragged into a protracted impeachment bid that will ultimately get crushed in the Republican-controlled Senate, and do not risk alienating the moderate voters by drifting too far to the left.”

“Own the center left, own the mainstream,” she said.


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