In a rare demonstration of bipartisanship, the United States Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution affirming its committment to the peaceful transfer of power between outgoing and incoming presidential administrations.
Reaffirming the Senate’s commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes. Whereas the United States is founded on the principle that our Government derives its power from the consent of the governed and that the people have the right to change their elected leaders through elections; Whereas our domestic tranquility, national security, general welfare, and civil liberties depend upon the peaceful and orderly transfer of power; and Whereas any disruption occasioned by the transfer of the executive power could produce results detrimental to the safety and well-being of the United States and its people: Now, therefore, be it ROM20874 P7W S.L.C. 1 Resolved, That the Senate – (1) reaffirms its commitment to the orderly and 3peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States; and (2) 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.
The plege, put forth by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), comes admid widespread outcry less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump refused to hand over power if he loses the election to former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.
In a Senate Floor speech, Manchin lamented that this type of legislation was needed at all, but that the assurance of peaceful transfers of power remain a bulwark against authoritarian usurpations of the presidency:
It’s a shame that we have to come and reaffirm our commitment to our country, to our constitution, and who we are as a people and how we became a great country, the greatest country on Earth, with the freedoms we all take for granted…What we are doing with this resolution is saying that basically the bedrock of democracy is the orderly and peaceful transfer of power when the President transitions out. It should not be a question…We’re in the most difficult times right now, and for the President to even address the subject of maybe not knowing if he would accept [the election results] or not is beyond all of our comprehension that this could ever happen in America.
We have come through a lot in our country, and we continue to be challenged, but I believe to have the leader of the free world talk as if we are an autocracy, authoritarian versus a democracy, is something that alarmed me and alarmed a lot of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, even those quiet as some may be, I know they’re alarmed…This is not who we are, and we must speak loudly. This is not politics. This is not Republican or Democrat. Make no mistake. This is basically if you believe, for the sake of the good Lord and all we believe in and our country, this is about maintaining this democracy. That’s all it’s about. Maintaining. And we will defend that, and we have today just reaffirmed our commitment to the orderly transition of power by the President of the United States, whoever that should be, whenever that might happen, that they must have an orderly transfer that we all will defend and uphold.
Watch Manchin’s remarks below:
Questioned by a reporter at a press briefing on Thursday about the scourge of civil unrest spreading throughout the country, Trump dismissed acknowledging the possibility that he may not win, reverting to his false claims about mail-in ballots.
“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump replied.
Trump then suggested that votes themselves, ultimately, do not matter to him, and that no matter what happens, he will remain in office.
“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.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.