Artists put the finishing touches to a wax figure of Donald Trump as Madame Tussauds prepares to reopen its doors to the public on Friday following the easing of lockdown. AFP
Critics and even Trump's allies dismissed the notion as an unserious attempt to distract from devastating economic news, but some legal experts warned that his repeated attacks could undermine his supporters' faith in the election process.
Donald Trump speaks with a soldier mother in Washington. AFP
Trump's statement on Twitter comes as the United States is enduring the greatest crises of a generation: a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 150,000 lives, a crippling recession sparked by the outbreak and nationwide protests against police violence and racism.
On Thursday morning, the government reported the worst US economic contraction since the Great Depression: 32.9% in the second quarter.
Trump, who opinion polls show trailing Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden, said he would not trust the results of an election that included widespread mail voting — a measure that many observers see as critical given the coronavirus pandemic. Without evidence, he claimed that mail voting would be rife with fraud.
"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," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
Donald Trump signs an executive order on lowering drug prices at the White House. AFP
The United States has held elections for more than 200 years, including during the Civil War, the Great Depression and two world wars. Article II of the US Constitution gives Congress the power to set the timing of elections, and the 20th Amendment ends a president and vice president's term in office on the Jan. 20 following a general election.
Multiple congressional Republicans — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top House of Representatives Republican Kevin McCarthy — rejected the idea.
"Never in the history of the federal elections have we ever not held an election and we should go forward with our election," said McCarthy.
Democratic US Representative Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House committee overseeing election security, rejected any delay.
"Under no circumstances will we consider doing so to accommodate the President's inept and haphazard response to the coronavirus pandemic, or give credence to the lies and misinformation he spreads," Lofgren said in an email to Reuters.
Trump's tweet will deepen Democrats' fears that he will try to interfere with the election or refuse to accept its outcome should he lose. Biden has called that his biggest fear and has gone so far as to suggest sending in the military to force Trump out if he refused to leave.
Democrats are preparing for fights over absentee ballots, potential voting recounts and the possibility that Trump’s Republican supporters will seek to intimidate voters at the polls.
Donald Trump poses for photographs with a group of supporters of Terry Sharpe in Washington. AP
Legal scholars worry Trump's repeated attacks on mail-in ballots, coupled with his refusal to say whether he will accept the results, will prompt his supporters to view the election as illegitimate.
The possibility that millions of Americans might lose confidence in the election is particularly worrisome, after months of widespread civil unrest over racial inequity.
"This is yet another example of the president seeking to delegitimise the election process before it happens," said Justin Levitt, a constitutional law expert at Loyola Marymount University. "That is deeply destabilising."
US President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to shutter social media platforms after Twitter for the first time acted against his false tweets, prompting the enraged Republican to double down on unsubstantiated claims and conspiracy theories.
Conway, Trump’s campaign manager during the stretch run of the 2016 race, was the first woman to successfully steer a White House bid, then became a senior counselor to the president. She informed Trump of her decision in the Oval Office.
US President Donald Trump pledged to "crush" the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine by the end of the year, as he accepted the Republican nomination for a second term.
Barring unforeseen disaster, Joe Biden will represent the Democratic Party against President Donald Trump this fall, the former vice president's place on the general election ballot cemented by Bernie Sanders' decision to end his campaign.
More than 820 people were injured and about 15,000 people have been evacuated, the agency said. Some have sought refuge in the mountains, while others went to cramped evacuation centres, witnesses said.
Guterres said the world’s leading economies have a special responsibility to support the World Health Organization’s COVAX program to buy and deliver coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poorest people.
After spending more than two months trying to overturn the results of the November election, pushing false conspiracy theories about fraud, Trump’s presence had not been expected at the inauguration.
India, the world’s most populous country after China, has said it may not need to vaccinate all of its 1.35 billion people to create herd immunity. Still, covering even half its population will make it one of the largest immunisation programmes in the world, even if countries like the United States were