The US 2020 presidential election has the potential of turning into “the most inaccurate & fraudulent” in the US history due to a mail-in voting system, Trump tweeted on Thursday, accompanying his message by a question “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”.
The president’s re-election campaign spokesman, Hogan Gidley, later clarified that the tweet was “just raising a question about the chaos Democrats have created with their insistence on all mail-in voting”, as quoted by CNN.
Democratic Camp Reacts
However, Trump’s comment was perceived as a solid intention by his Democratic critics and immediately attacked. US Representative for Illinois’s 8th district Raja Krishnamoorthi said that the president has “no power” to delay the election date, with New Jersey’s Representative Mikie Sherrill outlining in an interview with MSNBC that it is only the US Congress that actually has the authority to decide on the election date and “we’re not moving it”, he added.
This statement was echoed by US Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, who said that POTUS lacks the power to move the election - a delay that should not happen anyway despite COVID-19 concerns.
“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.”— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) July 30, 2020
— The U.S. Constitution https://t.co/cbuERgYuK0
Democratic Senator from Illinois Tammy Duckworth reacted to the news by posting a quote from the US supreme law’s section election, a move that was soon followed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states: 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”, Pelosi’s tweet said.
According to the US Senator from New Mexico Tom Udall, there was “no way” Donald Trump could delay national vote.
“We shouldn't let him distract us from his #COVID19 incompetence. But the fact that he is even suggesting it is a serious, chilling attack on the democratic process. All members of Congress— and the administration— should speak out”, the senator wrote.
There is no way @POTUS can delay the election. We shouldn't let him distract us from his #COVID19 incompetence.— Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) July 30, 2020
But the fact that he is even suggesting it is a serious, chilling attack on the democratic process. All members of Congress— and the administration— should speak out. pic.twitter.com/saznCjSe0N
Republican Camp Remains Low Key on the Issue
Most of the Republicans in the US Congress did not comment on the president’s motion or declined to provide their thoughts on the subject when approached by the media, including Senate Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst also did not support or reject Trump’s proposal when asked by Capitol Hill reporters.
However, Republican Representative Rodney Davis tweeted that there will be “no delay” in the November vote.
“Congress sets the election date, and it should not be changed. It will be held on November 3rd, as planned and required by law”, the top Republican on House Administration panel wrote.
There will be no delay in the #2020Election. Congress sets the election date, and it should not be changed. It will be held on November 3rd, as planned and required by law.— US Rep Rodney Davis (@RodneyDavis) July 30, 2020
According to CNN correspondent Manu Raju, Sen. Lindsey Graham was also not a fan of Trump’s idea, which he reportedly called "not particularly good”. Graham has always been a vocal supporter of the president but his public rhetoric has recently visibly departed from POTUS in relation to a number of political and economic issues.
The reporter later added that any move for a potential election delay was not shared by other prominent Republican senators, including Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Thom Tillis.
Sen. Ted Cruz said: “Election fraud is a serious problem we need to stop it and fight it, but no the election should not be delayed.”— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 30, 2020
Sen. Marco Rubio said of Trump tweet: “I wish he hadn’t said that, but it’s not going to change: We are going to have an election in November”
“The election is going to be held in November. Absentee ballots in North Carolina are strongly encouraged, as has the president encouraged them", Sen. Tillis reportedly said.
Unlike their Democratic colleagues, many GOP representatives have previously expressed similar concerns to POTUS about the potential for fraud in mail-in voting.