A top Democrat did not mince words in a new interview after Donald Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power, calling on “any Republican of good conscience” in the administration to resign.
Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr Trump’s "autocratic intentions are as clear as the writing on the wall” following a contentious press conference the president held on Wednesday.
“This is a moment that I would say to any Republican of good conscience working in the administration: It is time for you to resign,” the Democratic leader said in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“If you have been debating about whether you can continue to serve the country by serving this president, you can’t,” he added. “It is time to resign. And I would say to those who have been on the sidelines maintaining a dignified silence who have served in the administration in the past, you cannot maintain your silence any longer.”
The comments come after Mr Trump declined to say whether he would support a peaceful transition of power in the November election regardless of whether he wins or loses against Joe Biden, his Democratic opponent.
This is how democracy dies.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 24, 2020
A president so desperate to cling to power that he won’t commit to a peaceful transition of power.
That he seeks to throw out millions of votes.
And a Republican Party too craven to say a word.
But we will fight back. America belongs to the people. https://t.co/mIVjh78Xk9
Instead, the president said “We’re going to have to see what happens” when asked if he’d uphold the American tradition of peacefully transitioning the power between White House administrations.
Mr Trump also continued espousing misinformation about the mail-in voting process, which he has said was plagued with fraud despite virtually all of the evidence available showing it to be a safe and effective way of casting ballots without going to an in-person location. Many states have expanded mail-in voting options due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster,” the president told reporters. It was later assumed he was referring to mail-in voting efforts.
“Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very ... there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation,” Mr Trump continued, adding: “The ballots are out of control.”
Mr Schiff spoke about the president wanting to “get rid of the ballots”, warning Republicans in his administration not to wait for Mr Trump to allegedly try and rig the election in his favour.
He added: “If you do wait, knowing what is to come, you will share some of the burden of responsibility for that chaos that comes.”