House reaffirms commitment to peaceful transfer of power in nearly unanimous 397-5 vote
October 1, 2020
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted a resolution reaffirming its commitment to the peaceful transfer of power over objections from a handful of Republican allies of President Trump.
Introduced by Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, the resolution was easily approved by a vote of 397-5. A nearly identical version offered in the Senate passed by unanimous consent last week.
Neither resolution names the president, although each was offered after he raised constitutional concerns by refusing to commit to leaving office if he loses to Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden.
“As the United States of America, the federal government has always had a peaceful transition of power, and it is a collective responsibility of this body to ensure that continues,” Mr. Swalwell said on the House floor before Tuesday’s vote. “Everyone in America knows that this is what makes us American. Everyone, that is, except President Trump.”
In addition to reaffirming the House’s commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, the resolution says it “intends that there should be no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States.”
Mr. Trump said last week he will need to “see what happens” before deciding if he will relinquish power in the event he is defeated by Mr. Biden in November and voted out of office.
All five votes opposing the House resolution were cast by Republicans: Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Steve King of Iowa and Tom Massie of Kentucky.
Mr. Gaetz, a frequent defender of Mr. Trump, said he supports the peaceful transfer of power but has reasons for opposing the House resolution affirming as much.
“This resolution is a way for Democrats to attack the president and disguise the fact that they will refuse to accept the election results unless they win,” Mr. Gaetz said on the House floor.
Election Day is on Nov. 3, although millions of more Americans are expected to vote by mail this fall as opposed to in-person at polling places because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked the integrity of the electoral process in recent weeks and has claimed increased mail-in voting will result in rampant fraud. Election officials disagree.