Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, says his biggest fear is that Donald Trump will try to steal the election in November — and that he won’t accept the result if he loses.
“It’s my greatest concern, my single greatest concern. This president is going to try to steal this election,” Biden said during an interview with Trevor Noah on The Daily Show on Wednesday.
Biden said he worries about a repeat of the disastrous voting process that happened Tuesday in Georgia, where several counties with large minority populations faced hours-long lineups to vote in an election run by the state’s Republican government. He also referred to several recent tweets from Trump in which the president suggested — without evidence — that voting by mail in Democrat-governed states would lead to voter fraud.
“This is a guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary,” Biden said.
Trump has said that mail-in ballots would lead to “massive fraud,” while failing to provide evidence to back up his repeated claims on Twitter. He also tried to vote by mail in Florida while claiming the White House as his home address last year, according to state election records obtained by the Washington Post. He later changed his address to a Florida location and successfully voted by mail.
A recent analysis by the Washington Post found a “minuscule” amount of potential fraud in three vote-by-mail states, based on data gathered from five elections between 2016 and 2018. The analysis found that only 0.0025 per cent of the ballots were suspicious.
Host Trevor Noah also asked Biden if he’s thought about what might happen if Trump is defeated at the polls but refuses to accept the result — particularly after Trump repeatedly claimed that the 2016 election might be “rigged” before he won it.
“Yes, I have,” Biden said. He added that he trusts top military officials will do the right thing, after several of them came out to denounce Trump’s crackdown on a peaceful protest outside the White House last week.
“I am absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” Biden said.
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Biden was referring to the incident in Lafayette Square on June 1, when security forces attacked peaceful protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets and flashbang grenades to clear a path for Trump to walk to a nearby church for a photo op.
Gen. Mark Milley, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologized on Thursday for joining the president’s photo op after the protest crackdown.
“I should not have been there,” Milley said in a pre-recorded commencement address video for National Defense University.
Several ex-military officials also came out to condemn the use of force against American citizens, including Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s own ex-secretary of defence.
“Never did I dream that troops … would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside,” Mattis wrote in a statement to The Atlantic.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that many National Guard troops who participated in the crackdown are ashamed to tell their families about it.
Nevertheless, Trump bragged about how easily his forces dispersed the protesters in a tweet on Thursday morning, describing the crackdown as a “walk in the park” for “the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S.”
— With files from The Associated Press