On Thursday, Trump drew immediate reprimands from across the political spectrum after proposing to delay the Nov. 3 election and claim without evidence that widespread mail voting would be a catastrophic “catastrophe” leading to fraudulent results – a claim he made. repeated later Friday when speaking to reporters.
State governments have increasingly embraced postal voting in response to the pandemic, throwing it away as a way for fewer people to risk infection while casting ballots in person. Democrats grabbed Trump̵7;s proposal, suggesting it was evidence he was afraid of losing their party’s alleged candidate, Joe Biden, who has led the polls.
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam told a news conference that she was calling for emergency power to postpone the vote – unprecedented in the city’s political history since its handover from Britain to China in 1997. Postponing the election, he said it was the most “difficult” decision she has had to make since the virus began in January.
Because of the pandemic, “we will not be able to meet the requirements of an open and fair election,” she said.
Politicians and opposition observers characterized the move as designed to rally the political system with those loyal to the Chinese Communist Party and to destroy even moderate political opposition in Hong Kong.
McEnany said from the White House podium that the postponement “undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity, and this is just the latest in a growing list of broken promises from Beijing.”
Trump navigated the idea of delaying the U.S. presidential election in a tweet Thursday morning, which ended with the question: “Postponing the election until people can vote properly, safe and secure ???”
At a news conference later in the day, he said that while he did not want to delay the Nov. 3 vote, the alternative is a “crooked choice” that could take months or even years to resolve – suggesting he is willing to oppose results if lost.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump said he would prefer to hold elections sooner if possible, but predicted it would be “catastrophic for our nation” if there were widespread mail voting.
“You will not know the election result for weeks, months, maybe years after,” Trump said. “You will probably never know the election result, and that’s what I’re about. It will be fixed. It will be manipulated. People need to wake up.
Trump talked about the congressional election in New York in which ballot papers are still being counted a few weeks after election day.
“Everyone knows postal votes are a disaster,” he said.
Trump tried to distinguish between absentee voting, saying it provides more security, and other forms of postal voting.
“These governments will send millions of ballots. They do not even know where they are sending them,” Trump said.
Shibani Mahtani in Hong Kong and Amy Gardner in Washington contributed to this report.