Remarks by President Donald Trump this week suggesting he may not accede to a peaceful transfer of power in the event he loses the election in November have sparked outrage, and deepened concerns about an impending constitutional crisis. As Colorado Public Radio’s Michelle Fulcher reports, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado took to the Senate floor yesterday to condemn the President’s latest comments in the strongest unprofane terms:
Sen. Michael Bennet blasted President Donald Trump Thursday over his refusal to commit to a peaceful transition if he loses in November. The Colorado Democrat also continued to condemn the Senate’s Republican leadership for pushing a fast vote to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
In the White House briefing room Wednesday, Trump said “we’re going to have to see what happens” in response to a question about whether he would agree to a peaceful transition of power. The president’s answer rankled Bennet.
“In the history of this country we have never had a president, a Republican or a Democrat, who’s saying the kind of things that Donald Trump is saying at this point,” he said. “He’s become unhinged.” [Pols emphasis]
Even most Republicans were forced against their will yesterday to grudgingly speak up and assure the nation that yes, there will be a peaceful transfer of power no matter the outcome of the election, just as there has been in every American presidential election. The Denver Post’s Alex Burness has Sen. Cory Gardner’s version of the carefully-worded script:
“That’s something I’ve talked about in speeches from my very first days when Nancy Pelosi peacefully handed the gavel over to John Boehner,” Gardner said when asked to comment on Trump’s statement. “It’s a hallmark of our democracy. And I’ve spoken at length about it in the past about the continued need to use that as a symbol of democracy,” according to a pool report from Washington, D.C.
Though Gardner endorsed the concept of a peaceful transfer of power, he did not directly address what the president said, nor did he utter Trump’s name. [Pols emphasis] Trump earlier this week described Gardner as “very, very loyal to the party,” and has previously thanked him for unwavering support.
It’s a similar answer to the one Gardner gave when Trump suggested the 2020 elections might need to be delayed due to Trump’s fictional concerns about mail-in ballots–reassuring in the abstract, without actually addressing the reason we’re even discussing such decidedly un-American ideas as delaying and defying the results of elections.
The reason we are talking about the seemingly unthinkable possibility of delaying and/or defying elections in America is because Donald Trump, the man Cory Gardner has endorsed for re-election as President of the United States, talked about it first. Every time Cory Gardner sidesteps the words of the President he supports without acknowledging why the conversation is happening, he doesn’t actually help himself with either side of the electorate. It’s just enough to hurt Gardner with the GOP base, but not nearly enough save him in November. The cowardice of refusing to name Trump as the cause of all this uncertainty negates any praise Gardner might expect for contradicting Trump on the issue.
When it’s all over–maybe then Cory Gardner will find the courage to say Trump’s name.