The Trump administration's post-election plan is starting to sound a lot like a coup.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that there would indeed be a peaceful transition in the coming days — but only to a second Donald Trump term.
"There will be a smooth transition — to a second Trump administration," Pompeo said, when asked by reporters if the current White House occupant would allow for a peaceful transfer of power following President-elect Joe Biden's election win. "Right, we're ready. The world is watching what's taking place. We're gonna count all the votes, [and] when the process is complete, there'll be electors selected."
He added that there was a constitutional process that "lays it out pretty clearly."
"The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today, successful today, and successful with the president who's in office on Jan. 20 [...]."
Trump and his allies have attempted to stall the transition thus far, suggesting repeatedly and without proof that there was widespread election and voter fraud that allowed Biden to claim victory. There is zero evidence to support that claim.
Asked by a reporter whether he believed the United States had "failed" to conduct a fair election, Pompeo hedged, saying only that he was "getting calls from across the world."
"These people are watching our election," he said. "They understand that we have a legal process. They understand that this takes time. Right? Took us 37-plus days, you know, the election back in 2000, conducted a successful transition then. I am very confident that we will count — and we must count — every legal vote."
He added, "We must make sure that any vote that wasn't lawful ought not be counted — that dilutes your vote, if it's done improperly. Gotta get that right, and when we get it right, we'll get it right. We're in good shape."
Pompeo was parroting a popular refrain from the Trump campaign, which has suggested that any votes counted after Election Day are somehow illegal and should not be tabulated.
The votes to which they are referring are mostly mail-in ballots cast by those who voted early to avoid crowds on Election Day — and to maintain social distancing measures intended to keep people safe during the pandemic — and absentee ballots cast by active duty military members, among others.
It is also worth noting that Trump and his allies have only opposed counting ballots in states he lost to Joe Biden, where a surge in mail ballots put the latter over the top in the days following the election.
According to the Washington Post, Pompeo was also asked on Tuesday about the Trump administration's threats over the U.S. election in comparison to elections in foreign nations.
"This department frequently sends out statements encouraging free and fair elections abroad, and for the losers ... to accept the results," one reporter asked. "Doesn't President Trump's refusal to concede discredit those efforts?"
"That's ridiculous," Pompeo answered.
While Pompeo claimed the world was critically watching the results of the U.S. election, the majority of world leaders have enthusiastically welcomed its results and embraced a Biden presidency already.
"The Americans have chosen their President. Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! We have a lot to do to overcome today's challenges. Let's work together!" tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea tweeted that the two countries' "alliance is strong and the bond between our two countries is rock-solid."
"I very much look forward to working with you for our shared values," he added.
Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who has been friendly with Trump in the past — told the Associated Press he hoped to work with Biden in the future, noting, "We have common values. We have common interests. We have a common global perspective."
Heiko Maas, Germany's foreign minister, released a statement welcoming a Biden-Harris era as well.
"During the election campaign, Joe Biden made it clear that he believes in Team Play when it comes to the United States on [the] international stage instead of acting by its own," Maas' statement read. "We want the West to play as a team again."
Last weekend, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called to congratulate Biden himself.
"I just spoke with @JoeBiden and congratulated him again on his election," Trudeau tweeted afterward. "We've worked with each other before, and we're ready to pick up that work and tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our two countries — including climate change and COVID-19."
Pompeo's disturbing remarks are just the latest in a long line of similar coup-like comments from GOP sycophants backing Trump's false claims about mass election fraud.
Those include allegations of a rigged election by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Attorney General Bill Barr, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, and right-wing radio host Mark Levin, who's actively encouraged the state electors to go against the will of the voters and overthrow Biden.
Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as well as First Lady Melania Trump are said to have encouraged Trump to concede the election, according to CNN. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and former President George W. Bush have urged him to accept the results graciously as well.
Rather than heed their advice, Trump seems to be actively spearheading backlash with his supporters. To many, it's worrisome.
"Democracy works only when losers recognize that they have lost," wrote political scientist Henry Farrell in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.