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Networks: Trump Is ‘Bulldozing…American Democracy’ with ‘Stunning Words’ on Election

Networks: Trump Is ‘Bulldozing…American Democracy’ with ‘Stunning Words’ on Election

On Thursday night, the broadcast network newscasts showed no interest in the refusal of Democrats to accept the results of November’s presidential election (whatever they may be) and instead decided to meltdown over President Trump’s response to a question from carnival barker Brian Karem expressing doubt about the upcoming election and a flood of mail-in ballots. 

Despite White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s repeated assertions that Trump will accept the results of a “free and fair election,” ABC, CBS, and NBC went ballistic over Trump’s “stunning” and “unprecedented attack on America’s election” that serve as a “bulldozing one of the fundamental principles of American democracy.”

Our friends at National Review said it best in writing that, despite the hyperventilating and any required parsing of Trump’s words (and his refusal to simply say, “yes”): “There is, in fact, no chance that this president — or any president — will successfully remain in the White House having lost an election.”

While they correctly stated they’re “not worried” he’ll refuse relinquishing power because our system of government is delineated in the Constitution, the fear-mongering networks don’t have that same affinity (aside from the freedom of the press clause).

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt came across as if Brian Stelter wrote his script, warning in a tease of “Trump’s unprecedented attack on America’s election….casting doubt on the legitimacy of the upcoming vote after refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.”

Things got worse in Holt’s hyperbolic opening (in which he called Trump’s comments some of the “most stunning” things ever said by a president) and White House correspondent Peter Alexander’s report (click “expand”):

HOLT: In a year and a season where shock is hardly in short supply, what may be among the most stunning words spoken by an American president are loudly resonating tonight. President Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election. The President dangling doubt over one of the most powerful rights of American democracy.

(….)

ALEXANDER: With the election just 40 days away, President Trump trailing Joe Biden in those polls is bulldozing one of the fundamental principles of American democracy, refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. 

(….)

ALEXANDER: The President amplifying his crusade to cast doubt on the election’s integrity, amping up his claims that an expected surge in voting will lead to widespread fraud. Though, there is no evidence that’s true. The President would accept the results of a free and fair election. President Trump suggested the vote may be tainted. [TO TRUMP] Are the election results only legitimate if you win? 

TRUMP: So we have to be very careful with the ballots. The ballots, that’s a whole big scam. 

ALEXANDER: Democrats comparing the President to a dictator. 

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): You are not in Russia, Mr. President and by the way, you are not in Saudi Arabia. You are in the United States of America. It is a democracy. 

ALEXANDER: A small group of Republicans also disapproving but few, if any, condemning President Trump by name.

The CBS Evening News wasn’t any better trying to send viewers into a hide-under-your-bed spell of fear. Anchor Norah O’Donnell connected polls showing Trump behind to him to him “say[ing] he’s not sure this year’s election will be honest, and he’s falsely claiming tonight that mail-in voting is a whole big scam.”

CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang dismissed McEnany’s insistence Trump would accept the election results because, even though she’s his spokesperson, she’s not president: “Today, the White House press secretary said President Trump would accept the results of a free and fair election, but the President himself would not say that, fueling concerns that he will not relinquish power, even if he loses.”

She also seemed to imply that Trump could tamper with the election and ensure he stays in power by filling the Supreme Court vacancy: “Mr. Trump wants to fill her seat by election day, predicting whoever it is will help determine the result, which he argued may not be accurate because of ballot fraud.”

And, like with CBS, ABC’s World News Tonight wasn’t far behind NBC.

Anchor David Muir admonished Trump in the opening teases for his “stunning claims” that he would “cast doubt on the peaceful transfer of power.” 

No word on what Muir thought about Hillary imploring Biden to not concede “under any circumstances,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) asserting that Trump will “not…win fairly,” or bipartisan instances of voter fraud.

Fresh off of having admitted he’s come around to the arrogant, showboating of CNN’s Jim Acosta, ABC chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl followed Jiang’s lead in deeming McEnany a meaningless administration official (click “expand”):

KARL: The President sparked outrage after refusing to say there would be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. 

(….)

KARL: Today, we put the question directly to the President’s press secretary. [TO MCENANY] Very direct and very simple question. If the President loses this election, will this White House, will this President assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power? It’s a very simple question. 

MCENANY: The — the President will accept the results of a free and fair election. 

KARL: It’s not clear that assurance means anything. The President has gone from warning about possible voter fraud to effectively declaring without evidence the election is already rigged. 

(….)

KARL: Republicans stepped forward to insist there must be a peaceful transition of power, although most avoided mentioning the President by name.

Thursday’s hyperventilating and Resistance fan fiction of American descending into a dictatorship was made possible by advertisers such as Google (on ABC), Allstate (on CBS), and Liberty Mutual (on NBC). Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page. CBS Evening News has also asked people to “text Norah” at this number: (202) 217-1107.

To see the relevant transcripts from September 24, click “expand.”

ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir
September 24, 2020
6:30 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump on Peaceful Transition of Power]

DAVID MUIR: President Trump booed paying his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What mourners at the Court were chanting as the President also cast doubt on the peaceful transfer of power after election day. The President today pressed on his stunning claims. 

(….)

6:37 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: President’s Power Play]

MUIR: And we’re going to move on tonight to that scene outside the Supreme Court today. The President booed today by those mourning the passing of Justice Ginsburg, chanting “vote him out” and some could be heard saying, “keep her wish” after Justice Ginsburg asked that she not be replaced until after the election. The President and First Lady paying their respects today and it comes 40 days now before the election. Overnight, the President making news when he refused to say that there would be a peaceful transfer of power after the election here in the U.S. He was pressed on this again today.

(….)

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Developments; President’s Power Play; Trump Avoids Committing to Peaceful Transfer of Power]

JONATHAN KARL: The President sparked outrage after refusing to say there would be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. 

BRIAN KAREM [on 09/23/20]: Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election? 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP [on 09/23/20]: Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. 

KAREM [on 09/23/20]: I understand that, but people are rioting. Do you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transfer of power. 

TRUMP [on 09/23/20]: We want — we want to get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a transfer — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation. 

KARL: Today, we put the question directly to the President’s press secretary. [TO MCENANY] Very direct and very simple question. If the President loses this election, will this White House, will this President assure us that there will be a peaceful transfer of power? It’s a very simple question. 

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: The — the President will accept the results of a free and fair election. 

KARL: It’s not clear that assurance means anything. The President has gone from warning about possible voter fraud to effectively declaring without evidence the election is already rigged. 

TRUMP [on 09/23/20]: We want to make sure the election is honest and I’m not sure that it can be. I don’t know that it can be. 

KARL: Yet today, the FBI director told Congress that there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud. 

FBI DIRECTOR CHRIS WRAY: We have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise.

KARL: Democrats have condemned the President’s words. 

JOE BIDEN [on 09/23/20]: What country are we in? [SCREEN WIPE] Look, he says the most irrational things. I — I don’t know what to say about it, but it doesn’t surprise me. 

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): You are not in North Korea. You are not in Turkey. [SCREEN WIPE] You are in the United States of America. It is a democracy. 

KARL: Republicans stepped forward to insist there must be a peaceful transition of power, although most avoided mentioning the President by name. “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power,” Senator Mitt Romney tweeted. “Any suggestion that a President might not respect this constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.” And Mitch McConnell tweeted: “The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”

MUIR: Leader McConnell among many reacting to the President. Jon with us tonight. And Jon, I know the Senate late today now passing a resolution committing to a peaceful transfer of power? 

KARL: Extraordinary move, a unanimous vote saying that there must be a transition of power that is peaceful and it says there should be no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people.

CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell
September 24, 2020
6:30 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Questioning the Election]

NORAH O’DONNELL: With 40 days until the election, the President still won’t commit to a peaceful transition if he loses as Americans protest over police violence in the wake of no charges related to Breonna Taylor’s death. President Trump again questions the integrity of the election, but if the decision comes down to the Supreme Court, would he accept it? What members of his own party are saying tonight.

(….)

6:32 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Questioning the Election; Trump Refuses to Commit to Peaceful Transfer of Power]

O’DONNELL: Down in battleground state polls, tonight, President Trump says he’s not sure this year’s election will be honest, and he’s falsely claiming tonight that mail-in voting is a whole big scam. Well, the President’s new attack on the integrity of the election comes just one day after he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses in November. Well, today, in a direct rebuke of the President, the U.S. Senate, led by Republicans, unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its commission to a peaceful transition of office and tonight, Republican congressional leaders are distancing themselves from the President’s comments and while President Trump is once again trying to cast doubt on ballots cast by mail, his own FBI director was on Capitol Hill today testifying that the U.S. has never experienced large-scale voter fraud by mail or at the ballot box and it all comes just 40 days before election day. 

(….)

6:33 p.m. Eastern

O’DONNELL: CBS’s Weijia Jiang is going to lead off our coverage tonight from the White House with all that news. Good evening, Weijia. 

WEIJIA JIANG: Good evening, Norah. Today, the White House press secretary said President Trump would accept the results of a free and fair election, but the President himself would not say that, fueling concerns that he will not relinquish power, even if he loses. Today, President Trump arrived to the Supreme Court to a chorus of boos and chants. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Questioning the Election; Trump Refuses to Commit to Peaceful Transfer of Power]

CROWD: Vote him out. Vote him out.

JIANG: The President was paying respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mr. Trump wants to fill her seat by election day, predicting whoever it is will help determine the result, which he argued may not be accurate because of ballot fraud. 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be. I don’t — I don’t know that it can be with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots. 

JIANG: History suggests that’s not true, according to Mr. Trump’s own FBI director, who testified today on Capitol Hill. 

FBI DIRECTOR CHRIS WRAY: Now, we have not seen historically any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise. 

JIANG: On Wednesday, President Trump even cited mail-in ballots as the reason why he may not engage in a peaceful transfer of power. 

TRUMP [on 09/23/20]: Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. 

JIANG: Joe Biden said he was not surprised to hear the President’s view. 

JOE BIDEN [on 09/23/20]: What country are we in? Look, he says the most irrational things. 

JIANG: Several senior Republican lawmakers insisted there would be an orderly transition, no matter who wins. 

SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): It doesn’t matter what the President says. The Constitution says the presidency ends on January 20. 

JIANG: Mitt Romney, a frequent critic of the President, said the thought of not handing over power was “unthinkable and unacceptable” and the behavior of an authoritarian regime.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
September 24, 2020
7:00 p.m. Eastern [TEASE]

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Trump’s Election Firestorm]

LESTER HOLT: Tonight, President Trump’s unprecedented attack on America’s election. The President again today casting doubt on the legitimacy of the upcoming vote after refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to Joe Biden even top allies in the Senate now pushing back. And the moment on live TV the President of the Supreme Court booed as he paid respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

(….)

7:01 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Trump’s Election Firestorm]

HOLT: In a year and a season where shock is hardly in short supply, what may be among the most stunning words spoken by an American president are loudly resonating tonight. President Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election. The President dangling doubt over one of the most powerful rights of American democracy. Peter Alexander starts us off tonight. 

(….)

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Trump Refuses to Commit to Peaceful Transfer of Power]

PETER ALEXANDER: With the election just 40 days away, President Trump trailing Joe Biden in those polls is bulldozing one of the fundamental principles of American democracy, refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. 

BRIAN KAREM [on 09/23/20]: Will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power after the election? 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP [on 09/23/20]: Well, we’re going to have to see what happens. You know that. I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster.

ALEXANDER: The President amplifying his crusade to cast doubt on the election’s integrity, amping up his claims that an expected surge in voting will lead to widespread fraud. Though, there is no evidence that’s true. The President would accept the results of a free and fair election. President Trump suggested the vote may be tainted. [TO TRUMP] Are the election results only legitimate if you win? 

TRUMP: So we have to be very careful with the ballots. The ballots, that’s a whole big scam. 

ALEXANDER: Democrats comparing the President to a dictator. 

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): You are not in Russia, Mr. President and by the way, you are not in Saudi Arabia. You are in the United States of America. It is a democracy. 

ALEXANDER: A small group of Republicans also disapproving but few, if any, condemning President Trump by name. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeting: “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.” Mitt Romney calling any suggestion otherwise “both unthinkable and unacceptable.” There have been contentious elections before, but the loser has always accepted defeat. 

AL GORE [on 12/13/00]: For the sake of our unity of the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. 

ALEXANDER: President Trump’s now pushing to confirm a ninth Supreme Court justice before the election, anticipating the court with a new solid conservative majority could be asked to weigh in if the results are contested.

(….)

ALEXANDER: Biden firing back at the President overnight. 

JOE BIDEN [on 09/23/20]: What country are we in? Look, he says the most irrational things. 

Published at Fri, 25 Sep 2020 00:59:00 +0000