Joe Biden said Thursday that he believes President Donald Trump will try and delay the November election.
“Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” the former vice president and apparent Democratic presidential nominee said during an online fundraiser.
“Imagine threatening not to fund the post office. Now, what in God’s name is that about? Other than trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote,” Biden said. “That’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win.”
Trump has not made any comments about delaying the Nov. 3 election, and he does not have the power to do so unilaterally.
The Trump campaign issued a statement Friday, saying, “Those are the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality. Perhaps he also missed the news that the infamous Steele Dossier, central to the Russian Collusion Hoax, was likely compiled with Russian disinformation. That’s the real Russian collusion.”
An 1845 law sets the date for states to appoint presidential electors, “which represents the date by which voters in every state must cast their ballot,” and nothing in the Constitution or by Congress grants the president the power to postpone an election, according to the Congressional Research Service.
“During previous episodes of war, pandemic, or other deadly crises in American history, the presidential election date has never been changed in response to an emergency,” the research service said.
Some Democrats have been pushing for expanded mail-in voting for the election as a way to keep voters safe amid the coronavirus epidemic, but Trump has been critical of the idea.
“Mail ballots — they cheat. OK? People cheat,” the president said earlier this month, adding “there’s a lot of dishonesty going along with mail-in voting.”
Trump’s arguments that an election conducted via the postal service would be riddled with fraud is an allegation based on a number of false or misleading claims, as NBC News has reported.
An email to the Trump campaign seeking comment about Biden’s remarks was not immediately returned early Friday.
Biden has in the past said that the election must not be postponed. Some states have postponed primary elections amid the coronavirus epidemic.
Other top Democrats have also stressed the importance of holding the election in November as scheduled.
“We must. I know there’s a danger and people are scared. But we must and we will. [Trump] has done so much to undermine our democracy, to undermine our rights, dishonoring the constitution, undermining the integrity of our voting process,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview with MSNBC on Friday.”We cannot allow him to do that to our democracy. That will not happen.”
Wisconsin held a controversial, in-person primary election this month after the state Supreme Court overturned the governor’s executive order to delay it. Voters donned masks and gloves and waited in lines to vote.
Wisconsin officials have said that at least seven people appeared to have contracted the virus through election-related activities.
Biden referenced the Wisconsin election and said that Congress needs to ensure funding for states to have more voting options for the general election.