House reaffirms commitment to peaceful transfer of power in nearly unanimous 397-5 vote

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted a resolution reaffirming its commitment to the peaceful transfer of power over objections from a handful of Republican allies of President Trump.

Introduced by Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, the resolution was easily approved by a vote of 397-5. A nearly identical version offered in the Senate passed by unanimous consent last week.

Neither resolution names the president, although each was offered after he raised constitutional concerns by refusing to commit to leaving office if he loses to Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden.

“As the United States of America, the federal government has always had a peaceful transition of power, and it is a collective responsibility of this body to ensure that continues,” Mr. Swalwell said on the House floor before Tuesday’s vote. “Everyone in America knows that this is what makes us American. Everyone, that is, except President Trump.”

In addition to reaffirming the House’s commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, the resolution says it “intends that there should be no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States.”

Mr. Trump said last week he will need to “see what happens” before deciding if he will relinquish power in the event he is defeated by Mr. Biden in November and voted out of office.

All five votes opposing the House resolution were cast by Republicans: Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Steve King of Iowa and Tom Massie of Kentucky.

Mr. Gaetz, a frequent defender of Mr. Trump, said he supports the peaceful transfer of power but has reasons for opposing the House resolution affirming as much.

“This resolution is a way for Democrats to attack the president and disguise the fact that they will refuse to accept the election results unless they win,” Mr. Gaetz said on the House floor.

Election Day is on Nov. 3, although millions of more Americans are expected to vote by mail this fall as opposed to in-person at polling places because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked the integrity of the electoral process in recent weeks and has claimed increased mail-in voting will result in rampant fraud. Election officials disagree.

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Texan Gohmert 1 of 5 House Republicans voting against resolution affirming peaceful transition of power

WASHINGTON — Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is standing by his Tuesday vote as one of only five Republicans opposing a House resolution to affirm the chamber’s support for a peaceful transfer of power after President Trump last week declined to commit to it if he loses reelection.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed a nearly identical resolution by unanimous consent last Thursday, but Gohmert said he couldn’t support the legislation because it “singles out” Trump in the presidential race against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“This bill on which I voted ‘No’ is nothing more than a means to attack President Trump, though he has made clear he will support a peaceful transition to the legally winning party after the election,” Gohmert said in a statement Wednesday morning.

The resolution does not mention either presidential candidate by name and affirms the House’s commitment that there will be “no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States” following the Nov. 3 election. During the floor debate Tuesday evening, Gohmert said he supports a peaceful transition and unsuccessfully sought to amend the bill to include “or any candidate or anyone acting on a candidate’s behalf.”

Reps. Matt Gaetz, of Florida, Clay Higgins, of Louisiana, Steve King, of Iowa, and Thomas Massie, of Kentucky, joined the Tyler Republican in voting against the resolution. The measure was adopted in a bipartisan 397-5 vote.

“I know my colleagues on the other side have their own suspicions about what the motive is behind this and want to project onto it something that’s not in the language. But this was passed by 100 senators last week,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. and the author of the resolution.

The votes from the House and the Senate came after Trump said he would “see what happens” when asked at a press conference last Wednesday if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power following the election. Trump reaffirmed that position during the first presidential debate Tuesday, claiming the election will be “a fraud like you’ve never seen.”

Without evidence, Trump has claimed for months that the rise in mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic will defraud the election in favor of Biden.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said last week.

Lawmakers in both parties have countered Trump’s remarks in the days since.

“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,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

When asked about the controversy during a news conference last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “we want a peaceful transfer of power. It’s very sad that you even have to ask that question.”

Due to the pandemic, results are unlikely to be clear for weeks following Election Day as

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House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power

The House is slated to vote next week on a resolution that would reaffirm the chamber’s support for a peaceful transfer of power after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE this week declined to commit to it if he loses reelection.

The vote will come after the Senate passed a similar resolution on Thursday by unanimous consent to affirm a hallmark of American democracy.

The House version is listed under a series of bills set to receive floor votes next week under an expedited process that requires a two-thirds supermajority for passage, indicating that it is expected to receive bipartisan support. A spokesperson for House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise ‘essential’ Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid MORE (D-Md.), who controls the schedule, confirmed Friday it will be on the floor next week.

The resolution, authored by Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell calls for creation of presidential crimes commission to investigate Trump when he leaves office ‘This already exists’: Democrats seize on potential Trump executive order on preexisting conditions Swalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen’s job as Trump’s fixer MORE (D-Calif.), does not explicitly mention Trump’s comments this week.

Instead, the two page resolution states that the House “reaffirms its commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States” and “intends that there should be no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States.”

Trump on Wednesday said that he would have to “see what happens” when asked if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power and tried to sow doubt, without evidence, about the reliability of voting by mail.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”

Trump has repeatedly declined to say if he will accept the election results if he loses the election to Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Hillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns Fox News poll: Biden ahead of Trump in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Ohio MORE.

When asked during an interview with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris)

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White House Chief of Staff Seeks to Clarify Trump’s Peaceful Transition of Power Comments

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Friday sought to clarify President Donald Trump’s recent comments about whether he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on September 24, 2020. On Friday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sought to clarify comments the president has recently made about whether or not he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election on November 3.


© MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on September 24, 2020. On Friday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sought to clarify comments the president has recently made about whether or not he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election on November 3.

“I think he commits to a peaceful transfer as long as it is a fair election,” Meadows said Friday morning during an interview with CBS This Morning.

The president has frequently raised concerns, without evidence, about widespread voter fraud and has cast doubt on the dependability of mail-in voting, which Americans are expected to use more this year than ever before because of the continuing threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Asked Wednesday if he would agree to a peaceful transition of power if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the election, Trump told reporters at a White House press briefing, “We’re going to have to see what happens.” He cited a general concern over ballots and added, “There won’t be a transfer, frankly; there’ll be a continuation.”

Trump made similar comments to his supporters and the press over the summer. He told his supporters during a campaign rally last month that a “rigged election” was the only way he would lose, and he told Fox News in July that he would “have to see” what the voting results are before he accepts them.

Meadows discussed the “very troubling” findings, which the FBI announced earlier this week, about nine mail-in ballots cast for Trump by members of the military that were found discarded in Pennsylvania. He also brought up reports in several states of problematic ballots that were thrown out during the primary elections. Investigations into the problematic ballots have revealed problems ranging from election officials receiving them after the deadline to voter signatures not matching those kept on file.

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“What we want to make sure is that every vote counts—but that only the vote from one voter to the ballot box is what gets counted, and nothing less, nothing more. That’s what he’s referring to; that’s what we’re committed to,” Meadows said.

“Should we allow votes to come in and be counted a week after November 3? I don’t believe so. That’s what we’re talking about. Let’s make sure that the systems that we’ve had in place for decades—indeed centuries—are the same systems we have in place now.”

Trump’s Democratic rival during the 2016 election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warned Biden against quickly conceding the race during

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The White House declines to clean up Trump’s comments on a peaceful transfer of power

“I wonder if you can just clean up or clarify something the president said yesterday,” ABC News’s Jonathan Karl asked White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany the following afternoon. “If he loses this election, can you assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power?”

It’s worth noting Karl’s slip-up there: He’s done this long enough to know that one of the roles press secretaries generally play is to “clean up” politically problematic remarks for the president. Which is to say, he expected that McEnany would want to spin the comments, reframe them in a way that didn’t suggest that Trump was embracing a refusal to accede in the event of a loss.

But McEnany is not a typical press secretary, just as Trump is not a typical president.

“You are referring to the question asked by the Playboy reporter, right?” McEnany replied. When Karl reiterated his question, McEnany again referred to the questioner’s publication, pointedly, emphasizing the word “Playboy.” She then said that the original question reflected the reporter’s “deranged wish” that Trump would leave the White House.

This isn’t a cleanup effort obviously. Instead, it’s an effort to disparage the question to which Trump was responding, by shaming the men’s magazine for which the reporter worked. Trump’s view of Playboy is not as hostile as McEnany’s response of course, given that he’s appeared on its cover, participated in one of its adult-themed videos and warmly embraced its employees.

“It’s a very direct and very simple question,” Karl continued. “If the president loses this election, will this White House, will this president assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power?”

“The president will accept the results of a free and fair election,” McEnany finally replied. She went on to disparage Democrats as being the ones unlikely to accept the election’s results.

“Are the results legitimate only if the president wins?” NBC News’s Peter Alexander asked.

“The president will accept the results of a free and fair election,” McEnany replied, emphasizing “free and fair” as robustly as she did “Playboy” a short while earlier. “He will accept the will of the American people.”

This might seem like a successful clean-up of Trump’s remarks. There you go: He’ll accept the election results. Easy-peasy. But it’s impossible not to understand why McEnany emphasized “free and fair” so pointedly, particularly given where the briefing went next.

“Yesterday when the president said, ‘Get rid of the ballots, there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,’ which particular ballots is he talking about wanting to get rid of and why does he think that would help him get elected?” a reporter asked.

“The president wants to get rid of mass mail-out voting,” McEnany replied. “And that’s not because it — he’s said clearly that that could go either way, it could damage either candidate’s chances because it’s a system that’s subject to fraud.”

She went on to outline evidence which she suggested supported that idea: ballots found

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Bahrain-Israel deal is ‘spectacular’ development for ‘more peaceful world,’ says White House spokesperson

President Trump brokered another “extraordinary” Middle East peace deal involving Israel, this time with Bahrain, coming after a similar agreement with the United Arab Emirates just last month, White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern said on “Outnumbered Overtime” Friday.

The White House credits the president’s desire for ending endless wars and replacing them with peace and prosperity in the region.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES DEAL BETWEEN BAHRAIN, ISRAEL TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS IN PUSH FOR MIDEAST PEACE

“This is an extraordinary achievement. The president made the first major breakthrough like this in 26 years,” Morgenstern told host Harris Faulkner. “In less than a month, he’s made yet another one.”

Trump “has not one, but two Nobel Peace Prize nominations now in recent days because the president is ending endless wars and he’s bringing about peace and prosperity, promoting our ally, Israel, normalizing relations with Arab states, really tremendous developments,” he said, “and also isolating those who want to do harm and cause violence and dysfunction, isolating actors like Iran.”

Morgenstern praised Trump’s diplomatic victories of promoting America’s ally, Israel, and normalizing relations with Arab countries.

“These are spectacular developments for the world, spectacular development for our friends in the region who want peace and who want prosperity, and spectacular developments for the American people who want a more peaceful world into the future,” he noted.

ISRAEL, UAE TO SIGN HISTORIC PEACE DEAL IN WHITE HOUSE CEREMONY NEXT WEEK

“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!” Trump tweeted.

According to a formal statement issued by the three countries, they had agreed to “the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

The leaders of Israel and Bahrain also praised Trump for “his dedication to peace in the region, his focus on shared challenges, and the pragmatic and unique approach he has taken to bringing their nations together.”

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The peace deal Bahrain deal comes a week after Trump oversaw the signing of an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo that normalized economic relations between those two countries.

That arrangement also included Kosovo recognizing Israel, and Serbia agreeing to move its embassy to Jerusalem — as the U.S. had done with its embassy in 2017.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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