Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans shot down President Trump’s suggestion to delay the November election until ‘people can properly, securely and safely vote.’
Trump does not have the power to delay the election.
That would take an act of Congress and even the president’s top allies on Capitol Hill made it clear today that would not happen.
McConnell pointed out elections hadn’t been delayed in the past and did not need to be now.
‘Never in the history of the country through wars, depressions, and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. And we’ll find a way to do that again this November 3,’ McConnell told a local Kentucky television station.
He confirmed he expected the election to take place on November 3.
‘That’s right. We’ll cope with whatever the situation is in the election on November 3 as already scheduled.’
Other Republicans agreed.
‘I don’t believe we should delay the elections. Delaying the election probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I think we can be able to safely vote in person in November,’ said Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally on Capitol Hill.
Senator Rick Scott, another Trump ally, said he ‘doesn’t agree with delaying the election.’
Senator Chuck Grassley, the president pro temp of the Senate, said the country would follow the law when it came to the election date.
‘All these things are pretty well set and have been going on for decades. And so we’re a country based on the rule of law so nobody’s going to change anything until we change the law,’ he said.
Senator Ted Cruz said election fraud should be investigated but that doesn’t mean postponing the election.
‘I think election fraud is a serious problem and we need to fight it and stop it. But no, we should not delay the election,’ he said.
And House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is also close to Trump, said there should be no delay.
‘Never in the history of the federal elections have we not held an election and we should go forward,’ he said.
Trump’s pronouncement came right after news the U.S. economy shrank by 33 percent in the April-June quarter.
That number marks the worst quarterly plunge ever and comes as the coronavirus pandemic has shut down businesses, thrown tens of millions out of work and sent unemployment to 14.7 per cent.
Trump has banked his re-election chances on a strong U.S. economy.
Democrats accused Trump of attempting to distract from the terrible economic news.
‘Trump’s threat is nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract from today’s devastating economic numbers that make it clear his failed response to the coronavirus has tanked the U.S. economy and caused tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs. Trump can tweet all he wants, but the reality is that he can’t delay the election, and come November, voters will hold him accountable for his failures that have led to catastrophic consequences for the American people,’ said Democratic National Committee spokesperson Lily Adams.
Trump tied his suggested to delaying the election to his complaints about mail-in voting, which he has repeatedly complained will lead to vote fraud. Numerous studies have shown very little voter fraud in the United States via mail-in voting.
‘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???,’ Trump 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???
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
The date of general election is statutorily set as ‘the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November’ or ‘the first Tuesday after November 1,’ according to the 1845 law passed by Congress.
Only new legislation could change that date.
Additionally, Article II of the Constitution declares Congress – in effect – sets the election date: ‘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.’
But Trump’s tweet could stoke fears already present among Democrats the president will use his executive powers – such as declaring martial law – to suppress voter turn out in Democratic areas such as big cities.
Polls show presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leading in national polls and in many of the battleground states that will decide the contest.
Biden has warned that Trump could seek to nullify and try to delegitimize November’s contest should he lose.
‘Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,’ Biden said at a virtual fundraiser in April.
And Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called Trump’s decision to send in federal forces to U.S. cities with demonstrations taking place in support of the Black Lives Matters movement is a ‘dry run for martial law.’
Durkan said President Trump, ‘clearly targeted cities run by Democratic mayors. He’s said so himself.’
‘He’s using law enforcement as a political tool,’ she told CNN earlier this week. ‘I hate to say it, but I really believe that we are seeing the dry run for martial law. This is a president that is using law enforcement and federal forces for political purposes and that should be chilling to every American.’
Trump also suggested today that mail-in voting would allow foreign interference in the election.
‘Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster. Even testing areas are way off. The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race. Even beyond that, there’s no accurate count!,’ he tweeted.
Many states have opted to expand mail-in voting options for November’s contest because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has railed against these decisions and the Republican Party has created a $20 million legal fund to fight them.
Trump, who is a resident of Florida, has voted absentee in several elections, including the state’s presidential primary earlier this year. Vice President Mike Pence and several other members of his administration have also voted absentee.