Washington: The USA President Trump has suggested delaying November’s presidential election, an unprecedented move as polls show him trailing his likely opponent Joe Biden by double digits.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the election date would not change.
President Donald Trump announced that he is canceling part of the Republican National Convention which was set to be held in Jacksonville, Florida, as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the state.
Hours later, he tweeted he was “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,” but added that he was in favor of absentee voting. Both on at his press conference and on Twitter, he stated the need for the results to be available the night of Election Day itsel.
There was instant outraged reaction from Democrats to Trump’s suggestion, and some top GOP figures (aside from McConnell) warned the president against even raising the idea.
“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,” Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, the ranking Republican member of the House Administration Committee, tweeted.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a Harvard Law graduate himself, declined to say when asked at a Senate hearing whether the president had the authority to delay the election. Instead, he said it was a question best left to the Justice Department.
Any such move would require a change of federal law, meaning it would need to go through Democrats in the House of Representatives in addition to the Republican-controlled Senate. (The Congressional Research Service actually weighed in on this topic in March, specifically noting that a president has no legal authority to change the date of the election.)