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Letter to the Editor: In response to Janet Alexander's recent letter

Posted: Sun, Nov 1, 2020 12:50 PM

(The following Letter to the Editor by Karl Knudson of Decorah is in response to a Letter to the Editor submitted by Janet Alexander of Decorah--

"In her recent letter, Janet Alexander states President Trump said he "would not commit to providing a peaceful transition of power after Election Day."  Donald Trump never spoke those words.  The quote comes from CNN and was mimicked by others in the mainstream media.

On September 23rd, Trump was asked:  "Will you commit here today for a peaceful transfer of power after the election?"  A fairer questioner would have asked:  "Will you commit here today for a peaceful transfer of power if you lose the election?" The question was loaded because it assumed Trump would lose the election and a yes answer would have been a concession that a transfer of power would therefore be appropriate after the election.  Trump refused to accept that premise by giving a yes or no answer, but instead answered:  "Well, we're going to have to see what happens." He went on to comment on the potential for ballot problems affecting the upcoming election.  CNN then wrote up the exchange with the headline: "Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transition of power after Election Day."  

The press conference and the ensuing CNN article are online and can be found with a quick search. and

President Trump was right to avoid a direct answer to the question due to the way it was asked, and to express concerns about the security of the ballots.  We are now heading into an election which is likely to be marred by unprecedented post-election challenges by both sides due to increased mail-in voting and new voting methods adopted for the first time in many states.

The questioner also pointed out, "there has been rioting in cities across the country ... in both blue and red states."  President Trump is not responsible for that violence, and is in no position to guarantee that the same people who have been rioting will not return to the streets after the election."