Mayor Bill de Blasio referred President Donald Trump’s suggestion to delay this year’s presidential election “the act of a tyrant” during his daily press conference on Thursday morning.
In a tweet posted earlier today, President Trump made the suggestion based on an unsupported theory that the novel coronavirus pandemic will cause the November election to be the most “inaccurate and fraudulent” election in American history.
With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
“He knows that he is going to lose the election,” de Blasio told reporters. “That is an abrogation of responsibility but more importantly that’s an assault on our democracy and it cannot stand.”
The president has no power to delay an election since the date of the general election, the following Tuesday after the first Monday of November, is set by federal law. Only Congress holds the power to change the date, which has been set since 1845, but doing so would require agreement between the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-dominated Senate.
Trump’s tweet followed devastating news on the country’s economy which plunged at a 32.9% annual rate between April and June due to the COVID-19 — its worst drop to date. The mayor’s harsh words for the president come after he again called on Trump to do something to persuade the U.S Senate to pass a new stimulus package.
“We often talk about paralysis in Washington, gridlock in Washington but this is not gridlock, this is sabotage,” de Blasio told reporters. “Literally a few sentences out of Donald Trump’s mouth would change the reality of the U.S. Senate.”
Senate Republicans released a new coronavirus relief plan on Monday that proposed replacing the previous stimulus package’s $600 a week in federal unemployment aid to $200 payments until states could come up with individualized 70% wage-replacement formulas in October. The process though, for overwhelmed state unemployment offices to come up with and implement the formula, could take up to five months, according to a memo from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies obtained by Bloomberg News.
“Just think about what families will not be able to afford,” said de Blasio.”There are working-class families, even middle-class families, right now that are trying to choose between food or medicine. Those choices are getting tougher and tougher.” Over 1.4 million people filed for unemployment last week, according to the Department of Labor, about 12,000 more than the previous week.