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'Keeps Me Up At Night': Lawmakers React To Trump's Attempt To Sow Election Doubt

President Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.
Drew Angerer
Getty Images
President Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.

Lawmakers are weighing in on President Trump's efforts to sow doubt in the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election and his assertion that mail-in ballots could compromise the timing of results.

With levels of distress predictably split along party lines, Democrats in Washington, D.C., have sounded alarm bells over Trump's refusal to outright agree to peacefully vacate office should he lose the White House race.

"You know as speaker, over time, people have said to me, 'What keeps you up at night?' The night of the debate you saw what keeps me up at night," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a Thursday news conference. "The president has made clear that he will do everything to undermine the integrity of the election," she said, declaring that Trump has "no respect for the office that he holds."

In recent weeks, Trump has doubled down on his refusal to agree to a peaceful transition of power — a core tenet of any functioning democracy — in the event that he loses to rival Joe Biden in the general election.

"This is going to be fraud like you've never heard," Trump said in Tuesday night's debate. There is no data to support that claim, which Trump has made repeatedly.

Still, Republicans have been reluctant to vocally counter their party standard bearer.

In a tweet last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wrote: "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," he continued, making no mention of Trump's tacit threat.

On Thursday, in response to a question on what would be the congressional perspective of a delayed outcome due to mail-in ballots — a suggestion Trump has made that he has further said would need to be resolved by the Supreme Court — McConnell brushed off concerns of any unprecedented hold-ups.

"Who knows. I mean, we think this will be settled well before the end of the year, no matter how many states may end up having short-term election disputes," he said on Fox News' Special Report.

The Democratic-controlled House this week passed a nearly unanimous resolution to support a peaceful transition of power, with only five votes — all Republicans — in dissent.

The Republican-controlled Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution last week.

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Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.
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