After weeks of relative silence on the Trump administration’s disregard of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was spurred to action today by the president’s suggestion that this year’s elections be delayed.
Trump’s threat—based on the evidence-less claim that widespread mail-in voting would be a “catastrophic disaster”—drew a swift rebuke from Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as several pieces that pointed out the president simply doesn’t have such a power to put voting on hold.
“There is absolutely no reason to delay this election, and it is not going to happen. It’s incumbent on us to ensure safe and secure elections, and that’s exactly what the Congress has been doing,” she said on Twitter. “Congress, not the President, has the power under the Constitution to set the date of elections, and we have done so by statute. Americans have voted in federal elections during the Civil War, the 1918 pandemic, and other calamities.”
The much more Trump-friendly U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan did not publish a public statement rebuking the threat, but instead his spokesman told the Anchorage Daily News that “Senator Sullivan does not support delaying the election.”
Even Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, one of the president’s most stalwart enablers, said the country has never before delayed voting and wouldn’t be considering such a move this time.
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time,” he said in a television interview with Georgia NBC affiliate WNKY. “We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.”
The U.S. Constitution reserves the power to set the “time, place and manner” of an election to Congress.
Trump’s thrashing about the upcoming election comes as the latest economic report shows the economy shrank nearly 10 percent from April to June and his approval and poll numbers continue to slump due to his anemic response to the COVID-10 pandemic. Some took today’s tantrum as a sign the president realizes he’s likely to lose the general election this fall.
Even in Alaska, Trump’s net approval rating is negative according to polling by Public Policy Polling and he only leads Democratic challenger Joe Biden by three points.