All four members of Idaho's congressional delegation said there will be a peaceful transition of power in 2021 should the presidency change hands.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump again declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov. 3 presidential election, the Associated Press reported.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said at a news conference. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”
The White House on Thursday sought to clarify Trump’s words.
“The president will accept the results of a free and fair election,” said Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
In statements to the Idaho Press Thursday, Idaho's U.S. senators and representatives, all Republican, were confident the next presidential term would start peacefully regardless of who is elected.
Sen. Jim Risch said a peaceful transition of power would take place, as it has for over two centuries.
“On November 3rd, the American people will elect a president who will be inaugurated on January 20th. Whatever the outcome, the transition will be orderly and peaceful as it has been for 244 years. This is a cornerstone of our democracy," Risch said in a statement.
Sen. Mike Crapo also was confident in a peaceful transfer.
“In our nation’s history, there have been several presidential elections about which the results were contested," his statement reads. "We have been able to resolve those disputes, and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential swearing-in ceremonies have proceeded as dictated by Article II of the U.S. Constitution. I am confident that will happen after this year’s election as well.”
Rep. Mike Simpson, of Idaho's 2nd congressional district, said he was not concerned about the country's ability to have a smooth transition of power in January.
"I have no doubt, that whatever the outcome is on Nov. 3, we will peacefully swear-in the President and Vice-President on Jan. 20," Simpson said in a statement.
First District Rep. Russ Fulcher expressed similar confidence in the transfer of power and validated the president's concerns about voter fraud.
"I understand President Trump’s concern with election fraud, mail-in voting is ripe with ways to exploit this election, and our focus right now should be on how to prevent election fraud from happening in November," he wrote in a statement to the Idaho Press. "I truly believe that a legitimate, trustworthy election process is the only way for both sides of the aisle to find peace with the results."
“We want to reassure voters locally that things will go smoothly here in Idaho,” McGrane said, noting his office’s employees received training in recognizing signatures.
Congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected Trump's suggestion that he’d “see what happens” before agreeing to any election outcome.
Some Democrats took action, including formally asking Trump's defense secretary, national security adviser and attorney general to declare they'll support the Nov. 3 results.
“The President can’t successfully refuse to accept the results of the election without a number of very senior officials aiding him,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst, one of two congresswomen behind letters to the nation's top national security officials.
Meanwhile, McConnell, the GOP Senate leader, said in a tweet: “The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th.” He said, “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”
Reaction to his comment was strong from Capitol Hill — from both parties.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally and GOP chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, “If Republicans lose we will accept the result. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Joe Biden, I will accept that result.”
Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, was incredulous. “What country are we in?” he said late Wednesday of Trump's comment. "Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say about it. But it doesn’t surprise me.”
On Capitol Hill, Trump's possible refusal to accept the election results has been discussed privately for weeks as lawmakers consider options.
Two House Democrats, Reps. Mikie Sherill of New Jersey and Slotkin of Michigan — both members of the Armed Services Committee — are formally asking members of Trump's Cabinet to go on record and commit to upholding the Constitution and peaceful transition.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, responded in a letter to the lawmakers last month that he sees “no role” for the military to intervene in a disputed election.
But Defense Secretary Mark Esper declined to respond to the lawmakers' questions. Similar queries have been sent to Attorney General William Barr and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. They have yet to respond.
Slotkin said Thursday it is important to get senior military and DHS officials clearly “on the record.” It is those officials, she said, “that will determine what happens after Nov. 3rd.”
McEnany, the president's press secretary, said anew Thursday that Trump wants to “get rid of mass, mail-out voting." And Trump himself said he was not sure there could be an “honest” election as he left the White House on a campaign trip to North Carolina.
The president, who uses mail-in voting himself, has tried to distinguish between states that automatically send mail ballots to all registered voters and those, like Florida, that send them only to voters who request them. Five states that routinely send mail ballots to all voters have seen no significant fraud.
Of the nine states with universal ballots this year, only Nevada is a battleground, worth six electoral votes and likely to be pivotal only in a total national presidential deadlock.
Before the 2016 election, much as now, Trump refused to commit to accepting the results during the summer.
“I have to see,” Trump said two months ago on “Fox News Sunday.” “No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”