On a day in which the news cycle was already loaded with weighty, heavy stories, President Trump threw a major wrench into the gears in the mid-morning hours.
Today was the day that our nation would lay Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis to rest, with eulogies from three past presidents. This was also the day that we said goodbye to business icon, radio host, and former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who lost his battle with COVID-19 after several weeks of sickness. And, of course, there is still an election forthcoming and a global pandemic to talk about.
But just as Americans were taking their first smartphone break in the morning, President Trump floated an unprecedented idea on Twitter: Delaying the election until it was “safe” to vote in person.
The Republican Party was not amused, it seems.
The top Republican in the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at his weekly press conference he understood the president’s concerns about mail-in voting, “but never in the history of the federal elections have we ever not held an election and we should go forward with our election.”
And on the Senate side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told local Kentucky TV station WNKY the election would be held on November 3 regardless of the situation.
“Never in the history of the country, through wars and depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this November 3,” he said.
As many have pointed out, the President does not have the power to delay, postpone, or cancel the election, as that power lies with Congress – according to the Constitution. In fact, such a delay could backfire enormously on Trump, as the law of the land states that, should there be no election, the Speaker of the House would assume the role of interim President on January 20th, 2021 at noon, and remain in that role until such a time as an election is held.
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