White House officials have confirmed that the upcoming US presidential election will be held as planned on November 3 after President Donald Trump raised the possibility of delaying it.
Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the President was only raising concerns about mail-in ballots when he floated the idea of delaying election in a tweet last week.
“We’re going to hold an election on November 3 and the President is going to win,” Xinhua news agency quoted Meadows as saying to CBS News.
The Chief of Staff added that Trump “has not looked at delaying any election”.
Meadows’s remarks were echoed by presidential campaign adviser Jason Miller, who told Fox News on Sunday that “the election is going to be on November 3 and President Trump wants the election to be on November 3”.
In his tweet on July 29, Trump claimed — without providing any proof or evidence — that “universal mail-in voting” would make November’s vote “the most inaccurate & fraudulent election in history”.
“It will be a great embarrassment to the USA,” he said.
“Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
But later in the day, Trump said that he did not want to delay the election, saying: “I don’t want a delay. I want to have the election… But I don’t want to see a crooked election.
“But I also don’t want to have to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn’t mean anything. That’s what’s going to happen… that’s common sense. Mail-in ballots will lead to the greatest fraud.”
Trump’s delay tweet immediately ignited a political firestorm and drew bipartisan pushback from Capitol Hill, as legal analysts agreed that Trump has no authority to delay the election as the US Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date.
Election Day takes place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as determined by federal law. Moving the date would require an act of Congress.
Top Republicans — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — both dismissed the idea.
Trump ally Senator Lindsay Graham meanwhile said a delay was “not a good idea”.