South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize the results of the 2020 presidential election could potentially turn the United States into a dictatorship.
Although some postal ballots are still tabulated, Trump has not yet recognized the likely election victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Trump’s re-election campaign has filed lawsuits in the contested states to have ballots recounted or to allege election rigging. Trump claimed to have won a second term after the November election and accused the Democrats of trying to “steal” his election. The president’s allegations were widely described as unfounded. Clyburn told CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Tuesday that the concept of state parliaments replacing Democratic voters with Republicans to allow Trump a second term is unlikely, but has a historical precedent.
“I don’t think you’re going to go to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and get them to vote Republican when the Democrat wins,” Clyburn said. “I just don’t think you’re going to be able to do that. Well, it could happen. And I’ve been telling people for a long time that I’m beginning to understand what happened in Germany in the 1930s. I never thought that something like this could happen in this country.”
He went on to say, “How do you elect a person as president and then suddenly give them the authority to be a dictator? That’s what we’re staggering about here. That is what Hitler did in Germany. He was elected chancellor and then, because he had successfully discredited the news media, he took over the churches. I can’t imagine that here.”
“It can happen. But if it does happen, it means that the American people are much less, I would say, more intelligent than I think,” Clyburn added.
Fears that Trump would attempt to seize power beyond the day of inauguration were heightened by the comments of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday. Asked by reporters if there would be a peaceful transfer of power between Trump and Biden, Pompeo said there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration.
“We are ready,” Pompeo added. “The world is watching what’s going on here. We will count all the votes. When the process is complete, there will be voters who will be chosen.”
Despite Trump’s reluctance to accept the election results until all the votes are counted, Biden said he is pushing ahead with plans for the transition to the White House.
Trump’s government has not been very cooperative with Biden’s camp. The General Services Administration, which is responsible for managing federal property, did not recognize Biden’s planned victory. Not only has Biden’s transition team been unable to occupy rooms in federal buildings to begin the process, but Biden’s team has also been denied access to more than $6 million in congressionally approved funds earmarked for the transition.
Biden told reporters on Tuesday that Trump’s actions “have not changed the dynamics of what we can do at all.
“We’re just going to keep going the way we have,” Biden said. “We’re going to do exactly what we would do if he had given up and said we’d won, which we did. So nothing will really change.”
Washington Newsday turned to the president-elect’s office for further comment, but did not listen back in time for release.