Republican lawmakers have rebuked the idea of moving the 2020 presidential election after President Donald Trump openly pondered whether it should proceed as planned — a change that would require action from Congress — due to voter-fraud concerns.
“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???,” said Trump in a tweet that has since been pinned to his Twitter profile.
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
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told WNKY-TV in an interview that “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 third.”
— Max Winitz (@MaxWinitz) July 30, 2020
According to USA Today, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters during a news conference that while he understood the president’s vote-by-mail concerns, the country had never not held a federal election, “and we should go forward” with it as planned.
Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) expressed that he was unequivocally against the idea: “No, it’s not even a question. No delays.”
No, it’s not even a question. No delays.
We should demand safe and secure elections.
If you requested an absentee ballot, you should use it. And states should not use universal mail-in, which is indeed vulnerable to mistakes and abuse. https://t.co/gttmGnC1hB
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) July 30, 2020
Later in the afternoon, Trump suggested that he wasn’t seriously considering plans to move the election, but was rather trying to get the media to focus on the risks of mail-in ballots.
“Glad I was able to get the very dishonest LameStream media to finally start talking about the risks to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!),” tweeted Trump.
Glad I was able to get the very dishonest LameStream Media to finally start talking about the RISKS to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
Over the past several months, high-profile Democrats have floated the idea that Trump would try to delay the 2020 general election, which, again, cannot be done through the executive branch.
Back in April, former Vice President Joe Biden suggested that Trump would try to push back the date of the election out of fear of losing, reports Axios. Former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, however, went even further by suggesting that White House advisor Jared Kushner could somehow find himself involved in an election-moving plan.
“I can’t believe I have to write this sentence, but the president’s son-in-law doesn’t get to decide when the election is,” said Clinton, tweeting a link to a New York Times article that directly refuted the idea that Kushner, or the executive branch for that matter, could move the date of the general election.
I can’t believe I have to write this sentence, but the president’s son-in-law doesn’t get to decide when the election is. https://t.co/7CrpHny6TF
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 13, 2020
In a statement to The New York Times, Kushner later clarified that he has “not been involved in, nor am I aware of, any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election.”
But this is the first time Trump has floated the idea, albeit without any indication that he was saying the action could come from the executive branch rather than from Congress.
“He can suggest whatever he wants,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, of Trump’s election tweet on Thursday, reports Politico. “The law is what it is. We’re going to have an election that’s legitimate, it’s going to be credible, it’s going to be the same as we’ve always done it.”
“I wish he hadn’t said that. But it’s not going to change,” he added. “We’re going to have an election in November. And people should have confidence in it.”
“It doesn’t matter what one individual in this country says,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), reports the news agency. “We still are a country based on the rule of law. And we must follow the law until either the Constitution is changed or until the law is changed.”
After Biden’s remarks in April about Trump possibly trying to move the election, the Trump campaign called Biden’s theory the “incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality,” according to The Hill.
In June, after Biden said that he was concerned Trump would try to steal the election and that military officials may have to escort him from the White House if he refuses to leave, Trump told Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner that while he hadn’t heard about those remarks, he would simply go on and “do other things” if he were to lose in November.
“Look, Joe’s not all there, everybody knows it,” Trump told Faulkner during the interview. “It’s sad when you look at it, and you see it for yourself. He’s created his own sanctuary city in the basement of wherever he is, and he doesn’t come out.”
Trump then responded directly to the former vice president’s speculation: “And certainly if I don’t win, I don’t win. I mean, you know, go on and do other things. I think it would be a very sad thing for our country.”
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