The United States will soon reach 100,000 total deaths due to the Coronavirus, but President Donald Trump seems more concerned with getting back at his political opponents. This week, he launched into public meltdowns against Michigan and Nevada over their efforts to expand vote-by-mail opportunities ahead of upcoming elections. Trump threatened to withhold federal funding from the states in retaliation for their efforts to protect the voting process, and he claimed that voting by mail opens the door for some kind of Democrat-plotted fraud. Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney pointed out the ludicrousness of the president’s arguments, pointing out that his own strongly GOP-leaning state votes almost entirely by mail, with none of the fraud problems that the president has seemingly pulled out of thin air.
This whole thing is despicable and authoritarian and needs to be fought tooth, nail and claw from here to November in every single venue and platform. https://t.co/MdBKTmXB30
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) May 20, 2020
Rommey noted to reporters:
‘In my state, I’ll bet 90% of us vote by mail. It works very very well and it’s a very Republican state.’
Romney has repeatedly drawn the ire of the president, although early on in Trump’s tenure, there were rumors about the former presidential candidate taking a job in the Trump administration. In the time since, Romney has spoken out against the president on issues like his recent punitive firing of the oversight official responsible for the State Department. Romney, for instance, commented recently:
‘The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power.’
The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so
without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power.
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) May 16, 2020
The Utah Republican was even the only member of his party to vote to convict the president at the end of his trial over the impeachment charges brought by the House. Romney voted in favor of convicting Trump of the charge of abuse of power.
Romney on Trump's continued purge –> https://t.co/aBzA6BhvEH
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) May 17, 2020
Meanwhile, Trump has routinely not exactly taken well to those threatening his political standing, although in one of his initial anti-mail voting tirades this week, he got a basic fact wrong. He claimed that the state sent absentee ballots to everyone in the state, but in fact, they sent applications that those voters could use to receive ballots in the future. How can the president be trusted when he can’t even effectively handle the basic relevant facts?
The President of the United States is either so ignorant that he doesn’t know voting is a right or so authoritarian that he doesn’t care. https://t.co/hz1T4U6Z1t
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 20, 2020
In reference to the president’s belligerence, Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer commented:
‘To see Twitter this morning and to see rhetoric like that is disheartening because I think at first it shows you that there was a lack of understanding what the secretary of state was doing. We’ve got to take politics out of this crisis moment and remember we’re all Americans. We are all fighting for our lives here and for our economy.’
Everything that Trump is doing is about winning in November. He wants states to reopen so the economy isn’t a liability for him. He’s raging against mail-in voting because he wants turnout to be low. He’s pushing “Obamagate” because he has nothing else to campaign on.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 21, 2020
In the Nevada case, a judge recently cleared the way for the expansion of voting by mail, ruling that there was, quite simply, no “factual basis” for a conservative group’s claims of looming fraud possibilities. A lack of facts doesn’t seem poised to stop Trump and his GOP allies, however, who seem very concerned about the possibility that people getting to actually express their opinion will spell doom for the GOP.
"They send in thousands and thousands of fake ballots" — Trump just totally makes stuff up in hopes of getting people to believe that mail-in voting is ripe for fraud pic.twitter.com/MCcKCHDx9n
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 20, 2020