“It’s common sense,” Trump said, explaining he fears voter fraud via mail-in ballots. “I don’t want to see a rigged election.”
By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff
GOP officials from New Hampshire to Mississippi to Iowa quickly pushed back against Trump’s suggestion on Thursday that it might be necessary to delay the November election — which he cannot do without congressional approval — because of the threat of voter fraud. They reassured voters that the election would proceed on the constitutionally mandated day as it has for more than two centuries.
Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu vowed his state would hold its elections as scheduled: “End of story.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who leads the House Republican Conference, said, “The resistance to this idea among Republicans is overwhelming.”
The top Republicans in the House and Senate, who have spent the past four years championing Trump in Congress, also distanced themselves from the notion of a delayed election.
It was a rare rebuke for Trump from his fellow Republicans but one that might not last. There was little conservative opposition to Trump’s broader push to raise questions about the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election, including his suggestion later Thursday that a delayed result because of mail-in ballots would be a sign of fraud.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, in an interview with The Associated Press, said he opposes any plan to change the election date: “I don’t personally think a delay in the election at this point in time is necessary.” But he said he remained “100% committed to doing everything possible” to help Trump beat Democratic rival Joe Biden in November.
“I don’t believe that the president is losing significant support from Republicans,” Reeves said.
Indeed, Trump confidant Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, said he would support Trump’s call to delay the election “until things are normal so people can walk in.”
“If it takes a few more months, then so be it,” Falwell said in an interview, raising the prospect of limiting the president’s powers if the delay extends beyond his first term.
Trump cannot change the election date without the approval of Congress, and policymakers in both parties made clear they would oppose such a move.
“I don’t want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don’t want to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing, and the election doesn’t mean anything,” Trump said, warning of the possibility of “a crooked election.”
Back in New Hampshire, a swing state where Trump hosted a virtual event Thursday night, the president defended his tweet.
“You’re sending out hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots. Hundreds of millions. Where are they going? Who are they being sent to? It’s common sense,” Trump said.
“I want an election, and a result, much more than you. I think we’re doing very well. … I don’t want to see a rigged election.”
Sununu said the president’s comments about the election date would not affect his continued support for Trump’s reelection.