As you’ve likely heard by now, Donald Trump has spent months trying to undermine confidence in the election, a plot that reached a crescendo this week when he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power and called for “the ballots” to be thrown out so that he can just be declared the winner. Obviously, the remarks were deeply disturbing to people who don’t want to live under an authoritarian regime reminiscent of Turkmenistan. But for Trump? Well, apparently he thought they were a real gas.
The Daily Beast reports that, according two people familiar with the matter, Trump was glued to the cable-news coverage in the hours after he made his comments to the press and remarked privately how amusing it was that his suggesting he’ll stay in office no matter what was vexing the media and liberals. “He seemed to get a real kick out of it,” one of the sources said, adding that Trump seemed to relish making the press, in his words, “go crazy” over his disdain for democratic norms. “[The president] wasn’t going to be playing by their rules on this just to make them feel comfortable,” the source said.
Of course, it’s not the media and liberals’ “rules”; a peaceful transfer of power is actually dictated by the Constitution, and it’s one of the ways you can tell the difference between the United States and countries where dictators rule. And while Trump and his sycophants might think it’s hilarious to sow doubt about the validity of the election and whether or not he’ll accept the outcome, not everyone is so tickled. Per the Daily Beast:
Outside the confines of Trumpland, few were laughing. Some of the president’s own former senior administration officials said they were appalled by the comments, finding them both utterly believable indications of intent and further evidence that the man they once served wasn’t just unfit for office, but a threat to public safety. “I continue to be concerned that the President’s reckless rhetoric will incite violence from fringe extremists,” said Elizabeth Neumann, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security for counterterrorism and threat prevention who has since endorsed Joe Biden. “All leaders must understand how precarious a moment we are in, which has been noted by multiple law enforcement and intelligence briefings. They have a responsibility to be careful with their words.”