In-Depth: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced this resolution to reaffirm the House of Representatives’ commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution:
“Since the dawn of our nation, every President has honored the orderly and peaceful transfer of power to his successor following an election, but President Trump repeatedly has said he might not allow this. His threat to refuse to accept defeat should worry every American regardless of party. With this resolution, the House will express its commitment to democracy and its intent that nobody can subvert the will of the people of the United States.”
President Donald Trump has declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election to Democratic challenger Joe Biden and said, “We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.” He made similar comments during a debate in the 2016 presidential campaign, saying that he would “keep you in suspense.”
In response to Trump's most recent comments that he might not allow the transfer of power if he's defeated, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted, "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."
Resisting electoral outcomes has bipartisan appeal: Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, told 2020 Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden that he shouldn’t concede “under any circumstances”:
“Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances, because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch, and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is.”
Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for undermining the traditional peaceful transfer of power by launching an investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, which continued through the transition period and into Trump’s first year in office. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation ultimately concluded there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in election interference. Declassified documents later showed that Obama administration Dept. of Justice officials used the Steele dossier as a “central and essential” part of their applications to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page, despite ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier relying primarily on a sub-source whom the DOJ suspected was a Russian agent.
The Senate passed a similar non-binding resolution by unanimous consent on September 24, 2020.
Summary by Eric Revell
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