Trump slams mail-in voting as Republicans reject suggestion to ‘delay’ November election

President Trump expounded on his suggestion Thursday to “delay” the Nov. 3 election over claims mail balloting could make it the most “fraudulent election in history” — an idea swiftly rebuked by Republicans and Democrats alike.

“I don’t want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don’t want to have to wait three months to find out the ballots are also missing and the election doesn’t mean anything,” Trump said in a White House press briefing. “Do I want to see a date change? No. But I don’t want to see a crooked election.”

Trump set off a firestorm Thursday morning when he tweeted, “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Top Republicans rejected the idea. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a television interview, “We’ll cope with whatever the situation is and have the election on Nov. 3 as already scheduled.”

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said, “We’ve had elections in the midst of World Wars. We’ve had elections in the midst of the Civil War. … Elections need to happen and there’s no reason why this one can’t happen when it’s supposed to.”

MassGOP Chairman Jim Lyons said while he does not agree with pushing back the election, “we should be very concerned about” the state’s preparedness for vote-by-mail.

Trump’s tweet came on the heels of a startling economic report showing the U.S. economy’s worst quarterly drop on record this spring as the pandemic forced businesses to shutter.

And it renewed fears the president would try to discredit the results of the November general election as he trails presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in national and battleground state polls.

“I’ve never heard of any president doing this,” George Washington University political expert Todd Belt said. “He’s throwing everything against the wall right now to cause questions about the election and claw his way back in.”

The president does not have the authority to delay the Nov. 3 election. Congress sets the dates for general elections, which by federal law are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

But Trump has sought to sow doubts about the legitimacy of mail-in voting.

Legal expert Ross Garber said Trump’s new messaging could be setting the stage for pre-election litigation over mail-in ballots, challenges to election results or “pre-explaining any potential loss.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *