Schiff: Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transition shows he is 'desperate' and a 'would-be dictator'

Rep. Adam Schiff (D).
(Image credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) swiftly condemned President Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the November election, tweeting, "This is how democracy dies."

Trump told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that mail-in ballots are "a disaster" and officials will need to "get rid" of them. Trump has been claiming, without any evidence, that more mail-in ballots being sent due to the coronavirus pandemic will result in a rigged election, and it won't be in his favor.

Schiff tweeted that Trump won't commit to a peaceful transition because he is "so desperate to cling to power," and that's also why he "seeks to throw out millions of votes." The Republican Party is "too craven to say a word," he continued, but Americans "will fight back."

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Schiff later appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show, and said now is the time for "all good people of conscious to speak and to act to preserve our democracy, because there is no longer any question about this president's intentions. His autocratic intentions are as clear as the writing on the wall." Trump has "so clearly telegraphed his intent" not to give up power if he loses re-election, and his statements are those of "a would-be dictator," Schiff said. "There's just no ignoring them anymore. There's no wishing them away. There's no pretending he doesn't mean what he says. There's too much evidence to the contrary."

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also spoke out against Trump's remarks, although his tweet was milder. "Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus," Romney said. "Any suggestion that a president might not respect this constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.