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Thomas Friedman to CNN: US potentially heading to ‘second civil war’

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman on Thursday declared that the U.S. could be headed toward a second civil war following President Trump’s comments around not carrying out a peaceful transition of power should he lose in November.

“You know, I began my career as a journalist covering Lebanon’s second civil war in its history, and I’m terrified to find myself ending my career as a journalist covering America’s potential second civil war in its history,” Friedman told Anderson Cooper in an appearance on CNN.

“You really believe that?” Cooper asked.

“I think what happened in the last few days is a six-alarm fire,” said Friedman, later adding, “The president of the United States has told us ‘Either I win the election or I delegitimize the election.’ Those are your choices, folks.”

Friedman, a staunch critic of the president, also took aim at Republicans for not standing up to Trump.

“This is a party that went into its convention with no platform, just basically said whatever Trump wants, we want,” Friedman said. “If you’re not frightened now, if you are not terrified for what could happen, it’s not ‘We might have a disputed election.’ It is ‘We are going to have a disputed election, almost certainly,’ unless Trump wins, in which case I shudder to think what four more years of this would be like.”

Trump on Wednesday refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power in the event he is defeated by Democratic nominee Joe Biden, with the president saying he needs to “see what happens” with mail-in ballots.

The president has regularly attacked mail-in voting as having the potential for increased voter fraud despite officials, including the director of the FBI, saying there is no evidence to back those claims.

“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump said on Thursday.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” he added. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”

Tags 2020 election Civil War Donald Trump Joe Biden mail-in voting Transfer of power

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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