House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Sunday said he believes President Donald Trump won’t leave the White House willingly should he lose the election in November and warned that the president might invoke an “emergency” action to remain in office.
Clyburn sounded the alarm in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” in which he was asked about comments he made earlier in the week on PBS Newshour that appeared to liken Trump to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
“I feel very strongly that this man has taken on strong-armed tactics,” Clyburn told CNN. He said that Trump is like Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is more like Hitler.
“I believe very strongly that [Trump] never had any idea about being one to peacefully transfer power,” Clyburn said. “I don’t think he plans to leave the White House. He doesn’t plan to have fair and unfettered elections. I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue to hold onto office.”
Clyburn called on Americans to “wake up” and defend democracy before it’s too late.
“This is not a perfect democracy, but it’s better than any other that exists,” he said. He added: “If we are not careful, this country will be lost for our next generation, our children and our grandchildren.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Recent polls show Trump’s support slipping in some areas of the country, and he has argued several times without evidence that the November election will be “rigged” because of mail-in voting, which is expected to drastically increase this year because of coronavirus concerns. Election officials across the country have dismissed Trump’s arguments, saying there are many security measures in place to ensure a fair process.
Trump on Thursday floated the idea of delaying the election, repeating his unfounded prediction of mail-in voter fraud. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden warned in April that Trump would try to delay the election.
Top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, quickly dismissed Trump’s suggestion and vowed the election will take place on Nov. 3 as planned.
Voting rights advocates said the Trump administration’s assault on the U.S. Postal Service, including slashing overtime pay for mail carriers, could have disastrous effects in November.
“We have an underfunded state and local election system and a deliberate slowdown in the Postal Service,” Wendy Fields, the executive director of the Democracy Initiative, told The New York Times. Trump is “deliberately orchestrating suppression and using the post office as a tool to do it,” she said.
Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller on Sunday downplayed Trump’s suggestion of delaying the election.
“The election is going to be on Nov. 3,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” “President Trump wants the election on Nov. 3.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows echoed Miller’s denial in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Trump “has not looked at delaying any election,” Meadows said. He added: “We’ve got to make sure that we do this in a proper way, where we promote absentee ballots, we make sure that a ballot goes from an individual to the ballot box without someone else having the ability to conduct a fraudulent effort.”