On Thursday, President Donald Trump suggested delaying the general election in the face of imaginary looming election fraud. He has consistently tried to fearmonger, claiming that there’s some kind of huge potential for fraud accompanying the widespread usage of mail-in voting, but there’s no evidence for his claims, and — crucially — mail-in voting is even already used at a widespread level across the country! On Thursday, shortly after Trump tweeted his threatening suggestion to delay the election, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) promptly joined those putting the president in his place. In a response tweet, he reminded Trump and any other observers that it would be brazenly illegal for Trump to attempt to delay the election, and he pledged to work against the president’s belligerent wannabe authoritarianism.
Joe Biden, April 23: "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."
President Trump, April 27: "I never even thought of changing the date of the election. Why would I do that?"
July 30: https://t.co/NXMXztlZCV
— Ben Siegel (@benyc) July 30, 2020
Addressing the president directly, Schiff wrote:
‘Fact Check: You can’t do that. The Constitution explicitly grants Congress the power to set the election date. And we will do everything we can to ensure all Americans can vote — safely and securely — on November 3. No matter what nonsense you tweet.’
Fact Check: You can’t do that.
The Constitution explicitly grants Congress the power to set the election date.
And we will do everything we can to ensure all Americans can vote — safely and securely — on November 3.
No matter what nonsense you tweet. https://t.co/vukxaptGLM
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 30, 2020
Indeed — as Schiff notes, there’s absolutely no current legal mechanism by which the president could actually delay the election. The Constitution clearly leaves the power over orchestrating federal elections to Congress, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) noted in her own response to the president’s belligerence.
Pelosi memorably pointed out:
‘Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states: “The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”’
Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states:
“The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.” https://t.co/NIaa7mQVnn
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 30, 2020
This occasion is not the first time that Trump has floated a brazen violation of democratic norms in the United States. He has also previously “joked” about serving more than the Constitutionally-mandated limit of two terms for presidents, although there’s nothing funny about upending the rule of law in service of the president’s ego. According to the recently published memoir from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, Trump actually claimed to Chinese President Xi Jinping that “people were saying that the two-term constitutional limit on presidents should be repealed for him” — although it’s unclear if those “people” actually exist or Trump was just making up imaginary excuses for his own power-hunger.
Let’s be clear: Trump does not have the ability to delay the election. Our elections are enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution also says that if the date of the election is to be changed, it must be changed by Congress. https://t.co/WzVgBQqdSo
— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 30, 2020
Check out Twitter’s response to Schiff below: