President Donald Trump issued a tweet on Saturday seemingly setting the stage to declare a Democratic win in 2020 illegitimate, saying Democrats are using congressional oversight of his administration in an effort “to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!"
The US president's comment, in response to a grilling of his acting attorney general by the House judiciary committee, echoed similar ones he made in 2016 when he threatened to not accept the results of the "rigged" presidential election should he have lost.
The president's outburst came the day after Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, was repeatedly pressed by judiciary committee members on his relationship with the White House and his views on Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation.
Responses to the president’s statement signaled concern over whether Trump would cede power in 2020 if he loses the election.
Former National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price, who also served as special assistant to President Barack Obama, said Trump appears already to be making his case for questioning the results of next year’s election results.
"The first two sentences are laughable. The third is frightening—especially the use of the adverb “legitimately”, he tweeted.
"He’s setting the stage, months in advance, to be able to say the 2020 election was stolen. It’s fair to start asking whether Trump would cede power peacefully."
Likewise, former FBI special agent Josh Campbell said in a tweet that Trump’s comment posed “serious national security concerns,” adding that if he is trying to convince the American people that a “particular 2020 outcome” would be illegitimate, then Trump “will be doing the Kremlin’s work for them.”
The Independent noted that Trump went on to tweet that America’s economic gains during the Obama administration were in spite of the former president, not because of him. Trump also indicated his election spared the U.S. another economic depression by taking office.
"We have a great economy DESPITE the Obama Administration and all of its job killing Regulations and Roadblocks," he wrote. "If that thinking prevailed in the 2016 Election, the US would be in a Depression right now! We were heading down, and don’t let the Democrats sound bites fool you!"