U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday raised the possibility of delaying the nation’s Nov. 3 presidential election, though the Constitution bestows that power on Congress, not the president.
The move drew immediate objections from Democrats and it was not clear whether Trump was serious. Trump also said he would not trust the results of an election that included widespread mail voting – a measure that many election observers see as critical given the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, without evidence, repeated his claims of mail-in voter fraud and raised the question of a delay, tweeting: “delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
Trump’s tweet came shortly after the United States reported its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression: a second-quarter crash in gross domestic product due to widespread shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, who is trailing challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden in opinion polls, had previously intended to focus his re-election bid on the nation’s economic performance.
Trump had previously suggested he would not trust election results – complaints similar to those he raised going into the runup to the 2016 election – but had not so directly suggested changing the Nov. 3 date.