US Senator: Trump casting doubt on 2020 election his ‘most dangerous’ action ever
A report released by a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday details numerous links between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and officials working on behalf of Russia, but committee member Sen. Angus King (I-ME) told Yahoo Finance that Trump’s recent statements casting doubt on the 2020 election comprise the “most dangerous” action he has ever taken.
“For the president to keep saying, ‘If I lose, it's going to be rigged,’ that's an invitation to his supporters to say, if he loses, it's rigged and we need to take matters into our own hands,” King, who caucuses with the Democrats, said to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on Wednesday.
“Of all the things he's done that I disagree with, I think this is the most dangerous because it goes to the heart of our democratic system, which is trust and confidence that when the votes are counted, the votes are counted,” King adds.
On Monday, Trump raised doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, saying that he would only lose if the election is “rigged.” The sentiment aligns with remarks he made to Fox News last month declining to say he would accept the election outcome after ballots are cast and tallied in November.
“This business of the election is going to be rigged and not even committing that he'll leave office if he loses,” King says. “That profoundly, profoundly undermines the essence of our democratic system that we choose our leaders by elections and the people are in charge.”
Mail delays in recent weeks raised fears that the Trump administration was cutting mail service in order to suppress votes cast by mail, which are expected to increase amid the pandemic. Trump admitted last Thursday that recent efforts to block funding for the United States Postal Service were aimed at making it more difficult for Americans to vote by mail-in ballot.
King, who participated in the years-long bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, said Trump’s efforts to undermine the Postal Service should prompt more concern about election integrity this time around than Russian interference.
“I'm more worried about the administration's efforts to disassemble mail-in voting than I am the Russians,” he says.
“I think that could have a profound effect on the election because people are being put to a choice: either go to a polling place and take a risk of the virus or vote by mail but not be sure that the votes are going to get in,” he adds.
After backlash in response to the recent implementation of cuts at the Postal Service, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said on Tuesday that he would suspend the changes to avoid the appearance of influencing the 2020 election.
“I think that the administration finally realized they've made a real mistake by going after the post office,” King says. “People in America love the post office.”
“One of the real secrets of our democracy and the success of our country is something which we take for granted, but which around the world is not all that common, and that is the peaceful transfer of power,” he adds.
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