Mike Pompeo On Trump Rescheduling Election: I’m Not Gonna Enter A Legal Judgment On That

On Twitter Thursday morning, President Donald Trump floated the idea of delaying the presidential election. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in a hearing before the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Tim Kaine asked him about the possibility. Pompeo refused to give an answer, and Kaine pressed him.

Mike Pompeo won't say whether a president can delay an election
[Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images]

Trump tweeted Thursday morning, saying that mail-in-voting will be inaccurate and invite fraud, adding, “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

In a Senate hearing, Tim Kaine asked Secretary Pompeo about this. “This is not something either you or I were prepared to talk about today, because it happened in the middle of the hearing.” Describing Trump’s tweet, Kaine went on, “Can a president delay the November presidential election, Mr. Secretary?”

Pompeo refused to give an answer even when Kaine pressed, finally just saying that the Department of Justice would make the legal determination.

The Washington Post noted that experts have already answered this question. It’s widely agreed there is no direct legal strategy for the president to move an election — though he could lovvy Congress to do so.

However, professor of law and political science Rick Hasen warned that the president could use other methods besides changing the date of the election, such as using emergency mandates in November to prevent people from accessing polling places. He also pointed out that technically, electors do not have to be chosen by vote, and the president could pressure state legislators to choose electors without voter input.

While it’s possible, he doesn’t think it likely: ““That would be constitutional, but I believe it would provoke massive social unrest.”

Several Republican officials have already spoken out against moving the election date. According to NBC correspondent Cal Quintanilla, GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy is one of them, saying, “Never in U.S. History have we not held an election. We should go forward with the election.” KCStar correspondent Bryan Lowry shared a similar sentiment from Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwabb, also a Republican, who says that their state should go forward with elections as planned.

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