White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany sought to quell concerns on Thursday that President Donald Trump would not accede to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election to Democrat Joe Biden.
“The president will accept the result of a free and fair election,” McEnany said at a press briefing. "He will accept the will of the American people."
Asked later in the press briefing if the president would accept the results of a free and fair election that he loses, the press secretary replied, "I've answered your question. He will accept the results of a free and fair election."
Trump ignited a maelstrom on Wednesday after he refused to guarantee he would step aside if he is voted out this November.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said Wednesday evening. “You know, I’ve been complaining about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
Republicans scrambled to tamp down the idea, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeting that “[t]here will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”
Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on the integrity of this year’s election, which is expected to have tens of millions votes cast via mail-in ballots as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The president has asserted, without evidence, that there will be rampant voter fraud to bolster Democrats.
“The ballots are out of control,” Trump said Wednesday. “You know it. And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats.”
“The American people will decide this election,” Bates said.
On numerous occasions Trump has accused Democrats of trying to “rig” or “steal” the election and attempted to delegitimize the electoral process.
McEnany on Thursday told reporters it was Democrats who were trying to undermine the veracity of November's contest.
"I think that your question is more fitting to be asked if Democrats who have already been on the records and they won't accept the results in the election," she said, pointing to remarks from House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and others who have warned Biden against conceding the election and raised alarm about the president's rhetorical efforts at undermining confidence in the vote.