Whitmer, Democratic governors: If Trump loses election, 'he must leave office'

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Eleven Democratic governors, including Michigan's Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, issued a joint statement Wednesday vowing that "democracy will be delivered" in the Nov. 3 election.

The six-paragraph statement came a day after the first presidential debate in Cleveland, where President Donald Trump, a Republican, warned of "fraud like you’ve never seen" and urged his supporters to go to the polls to watch "very carefully."

"Our nation has held presidential elections and upheld the results throughout our history, even in times of great peril," the Democratic governors' statement said. "We did it during the Civil War and both World Wars, and we can do it during a pandemic. 

"And if the outcome of this election means the end of a presidency, he must leave office — period."

Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington, Kate Brown of Oregon, Gavin Newsom of California, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Ralph Northam of Virgina, John Carney of Delaware, Steve Sisolak of Nevada and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico joined in the statement.

They described it as a response to "recent threats to the democratic process and reports of efforts to circumvent the election results." The statement didn't mention Trump by name.

During Tuesday's debate, Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked former Vice President Joe Biden and Trump to pledge not to declare victory until the election results have been independently certified because of potential delays counting ballots because of record absentee voting.

"I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully because that's what has to happen," Trump replied.

"I hope it's going to be a fair election. If it's a fair election, I am 100% on board," he added. "But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that."

Biden responded that Trump's claims were "all about trying to dissuade people from voting because he’s trying to scare people into thinking it’s not going to be legitimate."

The Democratic governors said Wednesday, "There is absolutely no excuse for promoting the intimidation or harassment of voters."

"Today, we affirm that all votes cast in the upcoming election will be counted and that democracy will be delivered in this election," the statement said. "That means all valid ballots cast in accordance with state and local laws must be counted, and that all states must properly appoint electors in accordance with the vote."

Their statement came 34 days before the Nov. 3 election.