In an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, former White House national security advisor John Bolton said he expects how the president responds to the outcome of the election will depend on whether anticipated, widespread delays come into play.
“I think a lot depends on how quickly the outcome becomes known — whether there are delays in counting because of mail-in ballots and early voting, long lines on Election Day — a lot of which we should be able to handle, but which could delay the result in several states,” Bolton said.
“Trump has said he can’t lose unless there’s fraud, and that’s a very troubling statement. I’m not as alarmist as some people — I don’t assume he’s going to hold on to his desk and refuse to leave.”
“But I do think there could be turmoil if he thinks confusion and chaos can help him hang on,” Bolton continued. “I think there’s every prospect he’ll engage in it.“
The world is watching as the U.S. lurches into the final days of a divisive presidential election campaign that has sparked questions unprecedented in modern times about the possibility of sectarian violence.
Factoring into that is the strong likelihood that the results of the election will not be declared on Election Night on Nov. 3 given the massive number of mail-in ballots that are expected to take days or possibly even weeks to count.
Polls south of the border also indicate a growing number of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum feel violence would be justified if the other side wins the election.
Trump has repeatedly cast doubts on whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, arguing without any evidence that if he loses, it will be because of electoral fraud.
He has taken aim specifically at the mail-in ballots that are expected to form a significant portion of the ballots cast due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is currently running virtually unchecked south of the border.
There is no factual evidence behind his claims. Mail-in ballots have been used by thousands of Americans, particularly those serving abroad in the military, dating back decades.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has in recent weeks faced questions about how he would respond if the U.S. election results are unclear, which he has said could create “some disruptions.”
He said on Friday that he is optimistic the election “will go smoothly,” but reiterated previous remarks that the government is preparing for all possibilities in order to protect Canadian interests.