(CNN)The fight over the Supreme Court seat left empty by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg nearly eclipsed everything in Washington this week … until President Donald Trump’s own comments set off major concerns ahead of Election Day.
When asked if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, Trump issued a response he has used often, but in an entirely new case.”Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said on Wednesday. Even though Trump has previously refused to say whether he would accept the election’s results and has “joked” about staying in office past the constitutionally mandated two terms, this was — and is — different.Refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power, which any basic government course will tell you is a key tenet of American democracy, set off a new round of alarm bells for those concerned about the election. It also comes as Trump continues his drumbeat of unfounded and misleading statements about mail-in voting.Read MoreNow, the military is stressing that it will stay out of the election process and that troops will not be used to prolong Trump’s time in office.Amid all of this, election officials are reporting a record level of requests for mail-in ballots. More than 28 million ballots have already been requested and another 43 million are set to be automatically mailed to voters, according to a CNN survey of election offices in 42 states and Washington, DC — blowing past 2016’s benchmark of roughly 50 million pre-Election Day ballots cast.The Supreme Court will come back into play this weekend, when Trump is expected to announce his pick at 5 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.And don’t forget that the nation hit yet another grim milestone this week: 200,000 dead because of Covid-19, and surpassed 7 million confirmed cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci maintains that the US is still amid the first wave of the deadly pandemic. The Point: President Trump managed to step on his own SCOTUS news cycle with deeply concerning comments about a peaceful transition of power.