November 12, 2020 – The Elders today expressed deep concern about US President Donald Trump’s refusal to adhere to the protocols and processes governing the transition of power, as putting at risk the functioning of American democracy.
The continued assertions of electoral fraud by the President and some senior members of the Administration and of the Republican Party, offered as yet without any compelling evidence, convey a lack of respect for the integrity and independence of the democratic and legal institutions of the United States, The Elders warned.
Such an unprecedented situation could have far-reaching consequences beyond the United States’ borders. Those who stand to benefit from the current impasse are autocratic rulers and malign actors who wish to undermine democracy and the rule of law across the world.
The Elders noted that all living former US Presidents, including the last Republican incumbent George W. Bush, have congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and deemed the election outcome to be clear and fair.
Notwithstanding any continuing legal challenges, President Trump should follow the example set by his predecessors and declare himself willing to accept the verdict cast by the American people at the ballot box. The executive powers available to the President until his successor assumes office on 20 January 2021 should be used judiciously in the interests of the whole United States, rather than for partisan gain.
The Elders called on Republican leaders to act responsibly in the interests of their country by supporting a smooth transition and pursuing their political agenda with integrity.
Continued baseless accusations of subversion risk further deepening the instability and polarisation in American society, and eroding public faith in institutions that is the bedrock of democratic life.
Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, said:
“It is shocking to have to raise concerns about US democratic processes as The Elders have previously commented on volatile and undemocratic situations in states such as Kenya, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. President Trump’s refusal thus far to facilitate a smooth transition weakens democratic values. His fellow Republicans must now affirm their faith in the US Constitution, democratic institutions and the rule of law, so the country can begin a process of reconciliation.”