(Washington) US President Donald Trump openly discussed on Thursday a possible postponement of the November election, highlighting, without any proof, the risks of fraud linked to the COVID epidemic – 19.
France Media Agency
The tweet evoking this hypothesis, promptly rejected by the tenors of his political family, was sent a few minutes after the announcement of a historic fall in US GDP in the second quarter (- 32, 9%) due to the pandemic.
“2020 will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history,” said the tenant of the White House, referring to the extended use of postal voting for the November 3 ballot.
“It will be a real shame for the United States”, added the Republican billionaire, in great difficulty in the polls at just under 55 days of the deadline.
“Postpone the election until it is safe for people to vote normally? ? ? “, He continued, in the willingly provocative register of which he is accustomed.
The US Constitution is clear: the president does not have the power to decide on the postponement of an election. The date of the elections being fixed by a federal law, only Congress can take an initiative in this direction.
The fact that the president himself mentions this hypothesis could, however, contribute to fueling doubts about the legitimacy of the ballot within his electoral base.
The tweet is also an admission of feverishness on the part of Donald Trump, who fears a humiliating defeat that would make him the first president in a single term in more than a quarter of a century.
“We are in America. We are a democracy, not a dictatorship. The Constitution sets the date for elections in November. Nothing the president says, does or tweets can change that, ”said Dale Ho of the civil rights organization ACLU.
Several American states want to make voting by mail more accessible in order to limit the spread of the new coronavirus as much as possible.
Many of them have allowed this voting system for years and no serious study has yet reported major problems, beyond a few isolated incidents.
“Never in history” 2020
For several weeks, Donald Trump has nevertheless brandished the specter of massive fraud.
His comments on this subject prompted Twitter to report for the first time one of its tweets as misleading.
At the end of April, his Democratic opponent Joe Biden predicted that the former New York businessman would do everything possible to postpone the election.
“Remember what I'm telling you, I think he's going to try to postpone the elections one way or another, find reasons why they can't take place”, he had launched.
A few days later, Mr. Trump, interviewed during a White House press briefing, categorically rejected this hypothesis: “Why would I do this? “He replied, referring to” the propaganda “of the Democratic camp.
Notably, several leading Republicans quickly and clearly marked their disagreement with the president, ruling out a possible postponement of the ballot.
The leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, recalled that “never in the history” of the United States has an election been postponed, whether during the civil war or at the heart of serious economic crises. “We will make sure that is the case again on November 3,” he added.
Steven Calabresi, co-founder of the conservative organization “Federalist Society”, who specifies that he voted for Trump in 2016 and for all the Republican candidates for the White House since 1980 said it was “appalled”, evoking, in a column in the New York Times, a “fascist” tweet.
Former Democratic President Barack Obama also gave voice.
“Few elections have been as important as this one on many levels,” said the former president at the funeral of John Lewis, icon of the struggle for civil rights in the United States.
“Votes by mail will be crucial in this ballot”, he added, denouncing, without ever naming it, the attitude of Donald Trump.
According to the average of national polls established by the site RealClearPolitics, Joe Biden has, for more than six weeks, an advance over Donald Trump of 8 to 10 percentage points.
Asked during a press briefing at the end of the day at the White House, the American president maintained the ambiguity on the ballot.
“Do I want another date? No. But I do not want to see a rigged election, ”he replied, assuring that he feared, because of the vote by mail, having to wait for the results for“ weeks ”,“ months ”or even“ years ”.