UPDATE: Soon after President Trump suggested in a tweet that the election should be delayed, several Republican lawmakers were pressed for comment. None of them lent any credence to the suggestion, but they also stopped short of condemn the president or the tweet. CNN congressional reporter Manu Raju compiled some of their responses in a Twitter thread. Here are some notable quotes:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “I don’t think that’s a particularly good idea.”
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa): “Not answering any questions.”
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.): “I think that if you guys take the bait he’ll be the happiest guy in town. I read it. I laughed I thought my gosh this is going to consume a lot of people, except real people. And it was clever.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): Cornyn called it a joke “so all you guys in the press, your heads will explode and you’ll write about it.”
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.): “I support free, fair and secure elections.”
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.): “The election is going to happen in November period.” When asked if it was an appropriate tweet: “Talk to my staff.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas): “Election fraud is a serious problem we need to stop it and fight it, but no the election should not be delayed.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “I wish he hadn’t said that, but it’s not going to change: We are going to have an election in November.”
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.): “I think that’s probably a statement that gets some press attention, but I doubt it gets any serious traction. I think we’ve had elections every November since about 1788, and I expect that will be the case again this year.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa): “The federal law says we’re going to have the election the first Tuesday after the first Monday [in November.] All these things are pretty well set and have been going on for decades. … We’re a country based on the rule of law so nobody’s going to change anything until we change the law. It doesn’t matter what one individual in this country says. We are still a country based on the rule of law and we want to follow the law until either the Constitution is changed or until the law’s changed.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska): “There is absolutely no reason to delay this election, and it is not going to happen. It’s incumbent on us to ensure safe and secure elections, and that’s exactly what the Congress has been doing.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah): “I’m a fan of voting by mail,” he said. “Secondly, of course we are going to have an election on time. It’s unthinkable that that would not be the case.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): McConnell reportedly told a local station that the election date is “set in stone” and that elections have been held during national crises in the past.
Original post below.
The Department of Commerce announced Thursday morning that the United States GDP fell by a record 32.9 percent rate in the second quarter of 2020. “It looks like the data are pointing to a slowing in the pace of the recovery,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference on Wednesday, referencing the millions of American who remain unemployed and the millions more who continue to file for unemployment as the nation struggles to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which has now claimed over 150,000 American lives.
In a tweet totally unrelated to any of the above, President Trump suggested on Thursday that the November election should be delayed.
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
As has been noted repeatedly since Trump waged his campaign against remote voting, there is absolutely no legitimate evidence that mail-in or absentee voting leads to fraud.
Now, Trump is a world-class troll with a penchant for making ridiculous proposals on Twitter to see how the public will react, but he’s also the president of the United States, which means his shitposting needs to be taken seriously. As has been demonstrated in the past, it’s only a frivolous tweet until he actually tries to make it happen.
Fortunately, it would be a blatant violation of the Constitution, the document Republicans claim to hold so dear, if Trump were to try to delay the election. Congress sets the dates for the election and inauguration, and to change them would require approval from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. As the pandemic was intensifying in March, the Congressional Research Service even released a memo clarifying that Congress and only Congress has the power to change the date of a presidential election.
The election is happening on Tuesday, November 3rd, and no amount of question marks the president tacks onto his suggestion it should be moved is going to change that.
This post has been updated.