Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt unleashed on President Donald Trump hours after the president tweeted a question about postponing the November election. While many have speculated that the tweet was merely an attempt to distract from the massive economic downfall it only served to highlight both stories among the media.
Speaking to MSNBC’s Brian Williams and Nicolle Wallace on Thursday, Schmidt explained that Trump’s plot is to sow enough chaos that he’ll be able to steal the election. If he loses, Schmidt said he doesn’t anticipate Trump showing up at any of the events that involve a peaceful transition of power.
“This moment revealed Donald Trump’s fetish for totalitarianism in full,” said Schmidt. “Never has an American president talked about delaying a presidential election. He is across the rubicon. We should be gratified that at long last the supine Republicans in the Senate and in the House have finally, at long last, said, ‘No, we will have an election. We will vote.’ The American people in this country, we pick our leaders. So, Trump’s question, his assertion, his probing, the perimeter of what he can get away with, fundamentally the right to vote isn’t something for Donald Trump to give or take away.”
He waxed poetic on the blood and sacrifice of American martyrs and heroes who bequeathed the democracy to the American people.
“Including the blood of the American hero buried today with the tributes of three American presidents,” Schmidt noted. “In this country we tell the government what to do, not the other way around. The point is, though, if Donald Trump could end the election and stop the election — if Donald Trump had the power to remain in office we know for sure he would exercise it. He’s being crushed politically. We received the worst economic news in the history of the country today.”
“We have dark and troubled days ahead,” he continued. “We see a president testing the boundaries of American democracy which he’s done for three and a half years. What I’ll say today I said four years ago: fascism didn’t grow and thrive in the ’30s because it was strong. It grew because democracy was weak. We have a sick and ailing democracy in this country where there are too many of our leaders that have infidelity toward small ‘L’ liberal democracy and small ‘R’ republican democracy and it’s a real problem and a real crisis.”
He went on to predict that the peaceful transition of power to which Americans have become accustomed isn’t likely to happen next January.
“I think that it will be different in the sense that when Donald Trump loses the election, I doubt very much we’ll see the symbolism of the peaceful transition of power,” said Schmidt. “There won’t be coffee at the White House. We won’t see Donald Trump on the dais. Someone pointed out in a democracy it requires one side being willing to lose. It’s the loser cedes to the winner… Trump is seeding the ground that this election will, whatever the outcome, will be illegitimate. He’ll never recognize the legitimacy of it should he lose the election.”
He noted that 35 percent of Americans, generally regarded to be Trump’s base, likely won’t believe the outcome of the election either.
“Which means we’re in dangerous territory,” he noted. “At the end, Donald Trump can’t stop anybody from voting. Only the American people can stop themselves from voting,” he noted that Trump is certainly trying to make it harder, but that he hopes Americans exercise their rights.
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