Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sounded an alarm Wednesday about GOP moves to limit voting access, saying his “single greatest concern” is that President Donald Trump will “try to steal this election.” But, the former vice president said, he is “absolutely convinced” the military would escort Trump from the White House if he loses the election but refuses to leave office.
Asked by Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show” if he’s ever considered what would happen if Trump would not leave the White House if he loses, Biden responded, “Yes, I have.”
Biden pointed to Trump’s history of spreading false conspiracy theories about voter fraud, including a recent series of lies about mail-in voting leading to widespread voter fraud – which Republican and Democratic-led states are increasingly embracing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He highlighted Georgia’s botched primary Tuesday, in which problems with voting machines and other issues led to hours-long waits at some polling places in predominantly black areas. He said his campaign is putting out a “major initiative of lawyers” to patrol voting issues.
“It’s my greatest concern – my single greatest concern. This president is going to try to steal this election,” Biden said.
“This is a guy who said that 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 a primary,” he said, referring to Trump voting by mail in Florida.
Still, Biden said Wednesday, he believes if Trump has lost the election, military leaders would not allow him to refuse to leave office.
Saying he was “so damn proud” of the military leaders who have recently criticized Trump, Biden continued, “you have so many rank and file military personnel saying, well, we’re not a military state, this is not who we are. I promise you, I’m absolutely convinced, they will escort him from the White House in a dispatch.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany called Biden’s remarks a “ridiculous proposition” during an appearance on Fox News Thursday.
Biden and other Democrats have long said they worry about Republican attempts to impose strict voting laws. Those concerns grew when in Wisconsin this spring, the national and state GOP opposed the Democratic governor’s bid to mail every voter an absentee ballot and successfully fought in court to hold an in-person spring election in April in the midst of the pandemic. At stake was a state Supreme Court seat that would cast the deciding vote in a case over whether to purge more than 200,000 voters from the state’s rolls ahead of Election Day in November. A Democrat won that election.
Two months ago, Biden said he believes Trump will attempt to move the election date because of the coronavirus – a claim Trump has rejected.
“Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said in April.
Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who is a co-chairman of Biden’s campaign, echoed Biden’s comments to CNN’s “New Day” on Thursday about the possibility of military intervention to ensure a peaceful transfer of power if Trump refuses to acknowledge an election loss.
“I believe the military generals and others will step up and make sure that there’s a peaceful transition of power,” Richmond said.
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.