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President Trump doubled down on his concerns about election ballots but clarified that he will accept a loss in November if the Supreme Court rules in favor of his opponent, Joe Biden.
The president responded to questions from Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Thursday addressing his recent remarks about accepting the results of the election, which set off a wave of criticism by Democrats this week who accused him of trying to steal the election.
Trump was attacked after comments he made on Wednesday in which his critics insisted showed his refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses his reelection bid in November. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes echoed the meltdown on the left as he declared the president is “plotting” to stay in power, citing his “chilling” comments.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump responded to a reporter’s question at a White House news conference on Wednesday. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
“You’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer frankly,” he added. “There’ll be a continuation.”
Kilmeade asked Trump to clarify his statement during an interview on Fox News Radio’s “Brian Kilmeade Show” on Thursday.
“Many think you are saying we’re going — you’re not — if you do lose, you’ll never, ever leave. That’s not what you’re saying,” Kilmeade told Trump, adding that Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had indicated that he would accept an election loss if the Supreme Court ruled that Biden won.
“Do you agree with that?” he asked the president.
“Oh, that I would agree with but I think we have a long way before we get there. These ballots are a horror show. They found six ballots in an office yesterday in a garbage can,” Trump responded.
“They were Trump ballots — eight ballots in an office yesterday in — but in a certain state and they were — they had Trump written on it, and they were thrown in a garbage can. This is what’s going to happen,” he continued.
Police in Greenville, Wisconsin, found three trays of mail which included absentee ballots in a ditch on Tuesday. The mail was reportedly returned to the U.S. Post Office which has launched an investigation. In Pennsylvania, federal investigators found that seven out of nine ballots that were found discarded in Luzerne County were votes for Trump.
Absentee ballots among trays of mail discovered in Wisconsin roadside ditch https://t.co/XS9VPvcyuE
— James Hirsen (@thejimjams) September 24, 2020
“This is what’s going to happen, and we’re investigating that. It’s a terrible thing that’s going on with these ballots. Who’s sending them, where are they sending them, where are they going, what areas are they going to, what areas are they not going to?” Trump told Kilmeade, who noted that “people get concerned about a constitutional crisis.”
“Well, remember crooked Hilary Clinton a week ago, she said to Joe Biden, don’t concede under any circumstances, do not concede under any — never concede, OK? Now, nobody does a story about that, right? But she said that last week. You covered it,” Trump said. And the words were don’t concede under any circumstances. Well, it’s OK for her to say that, but if I say, well, I want the ballots to be fair…they make a big deal out of it. Not — it’s not right, it’s just the same old double standard.”
That double standard can be seen playing out in the Biden campaign which has already hired dozens of lawyers and lined up support to launch legal challenges to election results.
The Democratic presidential nominee was asked about Trump’s comments and his own view on the issue during a CNN town hall event on Thursday.
“Sure, the full results. Count every vote,” Biden told CNN host Anderson Cooper.
“Look, I mean, can anybody – any of you are history majors out there think of any president early on who said I’m not sure I’m going to accept the results of the election? It depends?” he asked. “What’s happened to us? This is not who we are. This is not what America is. No president’s ever said anything like that.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany addressed the president’s comments during a Thursday press briefing, emphasizing that he would certainly accept the results of a “free and fair election.”
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Thursday that he was not worried about the president’s initial remarks.
“Let me be very clear to you: It’ll be peaceful,” he said, adding, “no questions, no qualms, no concerns, it’s going to be peaceful.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell weighed in as well, tweeting that there will be an “orderly transition.”
The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 24, 2020
“It will happen,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said about an orderly transition, according to CNN.
“I’m not worried about that. It’s the least of my concerns,” he added. “If there’s a court challenge to the election, it will be decided in court. And the loser of the challenge will accept the results.”