2020-07-30 17:58:57 UTC
Donald Trump on Thursday morning floated the idea of delaying November’s
presidential election, justifying the extraordinary suggestion by repeating
his false claim that widespread voting by mail from home would result in a
Trump’s incendiary proposal was dropped in a Thursday morning tweet, as the
US was reeling from bad economic news, digesting the death toll of 150,000
having been reached in the coronavirus pandemic and preparing for the funeral
of Congressman John Lewis in Atlanta. In it he claimed without evidence that
“universal mail-in voting” would lead to “the most INACCURATE &
FRAUDULENT election in history”.
It also coincided with the preparations for a retreat by federal law
enforcement agents from Portland, Oregon, where they had beencalled an
“occupying force” and “Trump’s troops” by the state governor after
being sent in to tackle protests sustained daily since the killing of George
Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May, which triggered nationwide
demonstrations and a fresh surge of support for the Black Lives Matter
Trump, pontificating that the result would be a “great embarrassment to the
USA”, raised the prospect of a postponement. “Delay the Election until
people can properly, securely and safely vote???” he tweeted.
The US constitution grants the power to set an election date to Congress, not
the president, and numerous opposition figures immediately rejected Trump’s
suggestion, as did a commissioner with the US Federal Election Commission,
Michael Beschloss, a historian of the US presidency tweeted
in American history—not even during the Civil War and World War II--has
there been a successful move to “Delay the Election” for President.”
Congressional Republicans quickly sought to distance themselves from the
president over his suggestion. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell,
told a Kentucky television station that the election date was “set in
Senator Marco Rubio, a loyalist on most issues, said: “I wish he hadn’t
said that, but it’s not going to change: We are going to have an election
Lindsey Graham, normally a cheerleader for the president, told CNN he did not
think Trump’s tweet about the election was “a particularly good idea”.
The Democratic representative Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House committee
overseeing election security, rejected the idea of a delay.
“Only Congress can change the date of our elections,” Lofgren said in an
email to the Reuters new agency, adding: “Under no circumstances will we
consider doing so to accommodate the President’s inept and haphazard
response to the coronavirus pandemic, or give credence to the lies and
misinformation he spreads regarding the manner in which Americans can safely
and securely cast their ballots.”
The Democratic House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, simply tweeted quoting the US
constitution stating: “The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the
Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall
be the same throughout the United States.”
The Washington state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, issued a statement
saying there was no evidence that mail-in ballots increase voter fraud.
He said: “President Trump’s statement that he may unlawfully delay the
November election is undemocratic, un-American, and, sadly, entirely
And added: “For months, my legal team has been preparing for the
possibility that the president might attempt to unlawfully delay the
election. If that happens, we will see President Trump in court – and we
The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who was appearing before the Senate
foreign relations committee at the time Trump’s tweet went out, sought to
dodge questions on whether the president had the authority to delay the
“I’m not going to enter a legal judgment on that on the fly,” Pompeo, a
Harvard Law School graduate, said. “The department of justice and others
will make that legal determination.”
The justice department does not have the power to change the date of the
The idea that the US president should suggest a delay in a ballot that will
decide whether or not he stays in the White House for another four years is
certain to inflame fears that he is preparing for a fierce battle that could
threaten the integrity of US democracy.Recent polls
369261)have him falling significantly behind his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Trump has already indicated that he might not accept a Biden victory on
election day, 3 November. In arecent interview
election-results-if-he-loses-2020-7)with Fox News Sunday he declined to
commit to abiding by the results.
The idea that voting from home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic would
lead to an explosion of fraud has become agrowing theme
claims)for Trump. Most states have a long history of administering mail-in
voting, without any significant incidence of fraud.
Trump himself and numerous members of his administration, including
indiana-gop-primary-2020-6), have voted by mail.