President Donald Trump said he does not want the November presidential election delayed, hours after he stoked strong feelings by floating the idea of a delay.
"I don’t want a delay. I want to have the election," the Republican told reporters at the White House in Washington.
Trump took to Twitter on Thursday morning to rail against mail-in voting, saying it would make 2020 the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history.
"It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" he wrote.
"No, we’re not going to delay the election," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a television appearance. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) at the Capitol accused Trump of proposing "an indefinite delay, leaving him in power indefinitely."
Mail-in voting refers to voters receiving ballots in the mail and returning them by mail. Absentee ballots are similar. They have traditionally been available for people to complete by mail if people are not able to show up in person at polling sites. A number of states during the COVID-19 have moved toward sending ballots to every voter and other states are allowing any voter who feels uncomfortable voting in person request a mail-in ballot.
While he wants the election to happen on Nov. 3, Trump is still concerned about the method of voting.
"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, Steve. That’s common sense, and everyone knows it. Smart people know it. Stupid people may not know it. And some people don’t want to talk about it, but they know it," he told reporters.
"Do want to see a date change? No. But I don’t want to see a crooked election. This election will be the most rigged election in history," he added.
“It stands to reason when you’re not voting at a polling place, and you have ballots that are being voted on lord knows where and transmitted through the mail, it increases the opportunity for voter fraud and intimidation,” Fitton added.
Barr admitted he doesn't have evidence to support his comments. "But I have common sense," he told Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.), who rejoined that such concerns are "outrageous," citing state election officials.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters in Washington during her weekly press briefing on Friday that the president doesn't respect the office of the presidency.
"This is very serious. So we need to have an election that does not jeopardize the health and wellbeing of the American people," she said.
Appearing on "Fox & Friends" Friday morning, White House aide Stephen Miller said Trump "brought the whole nation's attention to the catastrophic problem of universal mail-in ballots."
"Here is a shocking thing for your audience to consider: nobody who mails in a ballot has their identity confirmed. Nobody checks to see if they’re even a U.S. citizen. Think about that," he continued.