A stream of Republican senators have publicly pushed back on Donald Trump for not committing to the peaceful transition of power if he loses the US election in November.
Some of the party’s most prominent names including former presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Republican leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell issued statements.
While the comments did not mention Mr Trump by name, the collective declaration of support for the electoral norms amounted to a rebuke of the US president from members of his own party.
It is the second time in recent months that a stream of Republican senators have called out Mr Trump over the cogs of US democracy. They did similar when he floated delaying the election due to coronavirus.
The willingness to break with their usual reluctance to contradict the president over policy led to speculation that there is a shared understanding they must uphold the electoral system.
The latest row was kick-started when Mr Trump was asked in the White House briefing on Wednesday if he would commit to the peaceful transfer of power should he lose.
“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Mr Trump said before repeating concerns he has voiced frequently about mail-in voting.
“You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster,” he added.
The remarks once again raised concerns that if Mr Trump loses the election narrowly to Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, he will not accept the result.
Later that evening Mr Romney, the Utah senator, tweeted: “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”
On Thursday Mr McConnell, the Senate leader and a Trump loyalist, issued his own statement which was less barbed but carried a similar message.
“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792,” he tweeted.
She said Mr Trump “admires people who are perpetuating their role in government”, citing Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
Meanwhile Mr Trump was greeted with vocal protests on Thursday as he paid his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court justice who died last week.
Standing by her coffin on the steps of the Supreme Court, Mr Trump received boos and chants of “vote him out” and “honour her wish”, a reference to Justice Ginsburg’s wish as she was dying not to have her seat filled by another judge until after the election.
Asked to respond to the incident, Ms McEnany called the chants an “appalling and disrespectful thing to do”.