Jared Kushner Admits His Comments About Changing Election Date Are Baseless
Jared Kushner, son-in-law and advisor to President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday that he couldn’t promise the date of the November elections wouldn’t change. He referred to November elections continuing on schedule as “the plan,” but said that he couldn’t guarantee this wouldn’t change. Now he’s admitted that, as far as he knows, there have been no discussions of delaying elections. The election is scheduled for the first Tuesday in November by Federal statute, and neither Kushner not Trump has legal authority to change it.
Speaking to Time on Tuesday, Jared Kushner discussed the risks of reopening businesses, schools, and government offices across the country too early. Still, he said, more factors have to be taken into account than merely the deaths from reopening, and that sufficient testing, social distancing, and mask-wearing will help to reopen safely.
Asked about the November elections, Kushner gave a response that blew up across social media: “I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan.” Kushner admitted at the time that it wouldn’t be his decision, but seemed to hint that the election date might be subject to change.
When asked if there was a chance the presidential election could be postponed past November 3 due to the pandemic, Jared Kushner said that isn’t his decision. “I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan” https://t.co/cyqN8VpHbk #TIME100Talks pic.twitter.com/SrzDbUAcwz
— TIME (@TIME) May 12, 2020
It set off a firestorm of responses from government officials, attorneys, and people who did well in social studies class, all jumping in to explain why neither Jared, Trump, nor the Trump team have any authority to move an election date.
Today Jared Kushner acted like the November election date could be moved, because he has no idea what he’s talking about.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) May 13, 2020
Kushner’s statement reveals amazing ignorance of the Constitution and law. It reveals startling arrogance in taking for granted he gets to have some say about when the election is held. It also reveals an utter lack of understanding of his very subordinate role in our democracy. https://t.co/3omqhZYNsM
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 13, 2020
Hillary Clinton even weighed in.
I can’t believe I have to write this sentence, but the president’s son-in-law doesn’t get to decide when the election is.
Kushner walked back the comments Tuesday morning, according to the Washington Post, admitting that he hasn’t been involved in any discussion about the date of the November elections, or about any delays, nor have any such measures been considered as far as he is aware.
It’s not the first time the notion has come up. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has floated the possibility that Trump would try to prevent the election from taking place. However, the election date, set in law, would require Congressional legislative action to change, and the Constitution dictates that the presidential term ends at noon on January 20th, so even a change in election date would not permit an incumbent to stay in office past that date.