MSNBC's Chris Hayes warns of a coup after Trump says he wants to 'get rid of ballots'

On All In With Chris Hayes Wednesday night, the host had a dire warning for the American people following a press conference earlier in the day, in which President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he were to lose the presidential election in November, and even spoke of getting rid of ballots.

When asked if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power, Trump answered, “Well, we’re gonna have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster.” “I understand that, but people are rioting,” the reporter continued to pushed, “Do you commit to making sure that there’s peaceful transferral of power?” Trump replied, “We wanna have — get rid of the ballots and we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

Trump received immediate backlash, including from Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.

“A chilling moment, I’ve got to say,” Hayes said in response to Trump’s answer. “I don’t know any other way to say it. The president of the United States threatening violence to stay in power. Sounds weird coming out of my mouth but that’s what happened.” He later added, “What the president is doing here is the most explicit that he has been about his plans for this election. He’s plotting in open, in public, repeatedly, a coup to steal the election and hold onto power.”

In recent months, Trump has continually spread unfounded conspiracies about mail-in voting; his campaign has sued states that expanded mail-in voting due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic; and his hand-picked postmaster general has taken steps to hamper the mail-in voting process, including the removal of over 700 mail-sorting machines. Hayes believes the plan is to sow distrust in the mail-in voting process, and to slow the arrival of mail-in ballots, and that Trump will try to use this to his advantage.

“He will take advantage of something called the ‘Red Mirage’ where more Republican votes come in first because those people voted in person, making it look like Trump is ahead on election night,” Hayes said. “And then he will attempt to use the courts to delay something called the ‘Blue Shift,’ which is just the counting of more heavily Democratic mail-in votes. They’re all the same votes. They’re all just getting counted at different times.”

Trump, along with most Senate Republicans, is pushing to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and he has openly admitted, with a strong conservative majority on the Supreme Court, that he is counting on them to decide the election, no matter the vote count.

“He will try to use the courts, then, to invalidate as many as those mail-in ballots as he can. Remember, this is why today he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, the mail-in ballots,” Hayes said. “Get rid of those ballots, he said. Those mail-in ballots are also the reason the president says, keeps saying, that he is counting on the courts, the federal courts, to help him win. He’s not going to wait for the ballots to be counted. He’s saying it.”

Even without filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, conservatives hold a 5-3 majority. But Hayes believes Republicans want to fill it before the election because, as he put it, “Apparently, they do not trust Chief Justice John Roberts to be enough of a hack to corruptly hand them the White House.”

Hayes pointed out other ways Trump may try to “steal” the election, and concluded that the only way to make sure that doesn’t happen is record voter turnout.

All In With Chris Hayes airs weeknights at 8 p.m. on MSNBC.

Watch Chris Cuomo slam Trump’s ‘epic hypocrisy’ for changing his views on election year SCOTUS appointments:

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