James Clyburn: Trump doesn't plan to 'give up the office'

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., on Sunday defended his recent comments saying President Trump “thinks that the American people will be duped by him, like the people of Germany was duped by Adolf Hitler.”

“I feel very strongly that this man has taken on strong-arm tactics. And I feel very strongly that he is [Italian dictator Benito] Mussolini, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is Hitler,” Clyburn said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat and a key backer of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, noted that he has for years been comparing Trump to history’s strongmen and warning that the president does not plan to leave office. (In 2018, Clyburn said: “If I were making that comparison, then this president would be Mussolini and Putin would be Hitler.”)

[See also: Clyburn says 'Defund the Police' slogan could derail reform efforts]

On Friday, Clyburn told PBS: “I have been saying now for about three years that this president doesn’t plan to have an election. He’s not planning to give up the office.”

CNN's Dana Bash interviews Rep. James Clyburn. (Screenshot: "State of the Union" via CNN)
CNN's Dana Bash interviews Rep. James Clyburn. (Screenshot: CNN/"State of the Union")

Trump provoked a new round of hand-wringing last week when he speculated about delaying the November election. Trump doesn’t have the ability to move Election Day. That power rests with Congress, where leaders of both parties quickly and uniformly dismissed the idea.

He floated the idea amid his latest barrage against mail-in voting, which he has repeatedly and baselessly claimed will lead to widespread election fraud. Many states have moved to expand mail-in voting to counter the risks of in-person voting amid the coronavirus.

Trump has also sought to draw a contrast between mail-in and absentee voting, which are the same thing in most states. Trump has voted by mail himself from the White House.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

[Yahoo News 360: Trump can’t delay elections. So why is he suggesting it?]

On Sunday, Clyburn connected Trump’s attacks on the voting processes to a broader effort to undermine confidence in the election.

“I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue to hold on to office,” he said on CNN. “And that is why the American people had better wake up. I know a little bit about history, and I know how countries find their demise. It is when we fail to let democracy, and the fundamentals of which is a fair, unfettered election.”

He added: “And that’s why he is trying to put a cloud over this election, floating the idea of postponing the elections.”


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