It has been the stuff of much speculation in the past – could President Trump, known for his admiration of foreign authoritarian leaders try and cancel or push off the elections? Now, Mr. Trump for the first time publicly floated the idea of postponing the November elections. In a tweet send to his followers on Thursday, Mr. Trump repeated his allegations that mail-in voting leads to election fraud and stated: “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
The president’s tweet came shortly after the Commerce Department reported the worst quarterly economic contraction ever recorded. Senior Republicans, including House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back against the idea of postponing the elections.
The president has no power over the date of the election which is set by Congressional statute. Furthermore, the president’s term expires in January, a date enshrined in the constitution. But Mr. Trump’s repeated and unfounded claims that mail-in voting leads to fraud are set to undermine the legitimacy of an election that is set to take place in a hyper-partisan environment amidst a public health crisis and a deteriorating economic situation.