Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden assumed reporters wanted to ask him about the lack of charges in the Breonna Taylor killing when he landed in Wilmington on Wednesday night after a trip to North Carolina. They were more curious about his reaction to President Trump’s point-blank refusal to commit to leaving office if the voters reject him in November. “What country are we in?” Biden asked, explaining that he was “being facetious” — and then explaining it again because it’s hard to communicate facetiousness with a face mask on. “Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say about it. But it doesn’t surprise me.”
Reporter: “Could you talk a little bit about President Trump’s comments today that he did not commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election?”
Joe Biden: “What country are we in? I’m being facetious.” pic.twitter.com/HXS09iRadE
— The Hill (@thehill) September 24, 2020
Biden’s campaign had already put out a more pointed statement: “The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
A lot of people were very disturbed by Trump’s prediction that “there won’t be a transfer [or power], frankly,” if you “get rid of the ballots” — and “it’s a sharply atypical response for a president, certainly,” Philip Bump writes at The Washington Post, trying to parse what Trump meant to say. But “given his rhetoric in 2016, this was not an atypical response for Trump.” But even if you translate Trump in the most generous light, he said, “it’s disconcerting because it reinforces that Trump’s interest in appearing to be victorious remains a primary concern,” certainly more than the legitimacy of America’s constitutional system of government.