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

Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Zuma

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate