Trump’s “Transfer of Power” Quote Will Grab the Headlines. But His Full Statement Is Way Scarier.

Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Zuma

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At President Trump’s Wednesday evening news conference, a reporter asked the president, “Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferral of power after the election?”

In normal times, the answer would be obvious. But under Trump, such questions are seemingly designed to elicit an authoritarian response.

“Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens,” Trump replied, echoing his previous unwillingness to state definitively that he would accept the results of the 2020 election. This reply immediately got attention online.

But Trump’s refusal to answer the question wasn’t nearly as scary as what came after.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful—there won’t be a transfer, frankly,” Trump continued. “There’ll be a continuation.”

By alluding to mail-in ballots, which the president has repeatedly, falsely argued are linked to voter fraud, Trump raised the specter of his deliberately manipulating the election to ensure that he is not voted out of office. He’s long toyed with the idea of refusing election results by playing the “we’ll have to see” tactic. Now, he’s talking about getting rid of ballots too.

“The ballots are out of control,” he said. “You know it, and you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else.”

As we recently wrote, Trump sees one path to victory: Trash the Constitution.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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