Trump Floats Postponing Election, Which He Can’t Actually Do

His suggestion followed news that the nation’s gross domestic product experienced a historic decline.

President Trump speaks as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on July 29, 2020 en route to Texas | Getty Images
President Trump speaks as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on July 29, 2020 en route to Texas | Getty Images

President Trump floated the idea of delaying the November presidential election — which he doesn’t have the power to do.

As the nation’s economy experienced a historic decline, Trump suggested in a tweet on Thursday that the election be delayed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” he claimed without evidence, then suggested the election be postponed.

He also made a baseless claim that foreign countries could easily interfere with mail-in voting.

Many were quick to point out that the president does not have the authority to postpone the election himself.

“No, Mr. President. No. You don't have the power to move the election. Nor should it be moved,” Ellen Weintraub, chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Election Commission, said on Twitter Thursday.

Lawmakers from both major parties quickly asserted that only Congress has the power to adjust the election date.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) cited Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which 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.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) also said that he would oppose any attempts to move the election.

Trump has previously condemned in-mail voting, making unsubstantiated claims that it is “‘RIPE for FRAUD,’ and shouldn’t be allowed!” In May, Twitter also placed fact-check labels on two of President Trump’s tweets containing misleading information about mail-in ballots.

Trump himself voted by mail in the March Florida primary. He’s also done so in previous elections. NPR has cited research that concluded “there’s no evidence that expanding absentee voting benefits one party over the other. Likewise, extensive research suggests voter fraud is uncommon for mail-in voting.”

According to an ABC report, presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden predicted in April that the president would try to delay the election.

"Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can't be held,” Biden said.

The tweets came as Trump’s reelection prospects have slumped in national polls. According to a recent CNN poll, Trump is trailing behind Biden in three key states that Trump won in 2016: Arizona, Florida and Michigan.