Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, wipes his microphone as he arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May. 5, 2020. Credit: Andrew Harnick / AP

U.S. Sen. Angus King said President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that the November election is rigged are “profoundly dangerous” and an “invitation to violence.”

Speaking before more than 600 businesspeople on a videoconference with the the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday morning, the independent Maine senator who caucuses with Democrats said he hasn’t made any formal endorsement of a presidential candidate yet, but “I think it’s pretty clear that I’m disappointed in this president.”

“Of all the things that he’s done that I disagree with, the one that I’m most worried about, and most disappointed in, is his amplifying and ramping up the idea that the election is rigged [if he loses],” King said. “The heart of the American experience is that elections decide who our leaders are, and that we have a peaceful transfer of power.”

He said saying an election is rigged “is an invitation to a lack of confidence and trust that will cripple our government.”

King pointed to earlier close elections in which a candidate stepped away because it would have been harmful to the country to prolong contesting the election. The junior Maine senator, who sits on the Senate’s intelligence committee, said the U.S. is better prepared for the coming election than it was in 2016 in terms of knowledge about foreign interference.

King told the businesspeople that he thinks there is a chance that another stimulus package could pass before the November election, especially if the White House will make a deal with the Democrats. He said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, would likely go along with that. McConnell brought a slimmed down bill to the floor last week that King and other Democrats voted against.

King said a similar thing happened with the first $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package. McConnell had suggested a bill that was voted down, but it resulted in further negotiations to create what King said was “a very good bill that helped a lot of people help keep the economy afloat.”

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