Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt lashed out at President Donald Trump floating the idea of delaying the election on Thursday, saying it is a “flagrant expression of his current weakness” and reveals the president’s “weak position” for re-election.
Moments after it was announced the U.S. economy had suffered its worst quarter in history, the president posted an explosive tweet pushing an unproven conspiracy that mail-in voting will result in widespread voter fraud. He proposed delaying November’s presidential election.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump wrote. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
During Thursday’s broadcast of America’s Newsroom, Fox News correspondent John Roberts pointed out that the president doesn’t have the constitutional authority to upend the election before offering some possibilities on Trump’s objectives.
“I think what we're seeing this morning is the president trying to sow the seeds of doubt here in the outcome of the election,” Roberts said. “Is it because he's concerned that he may not prevail, or is he just trying to mix it up and throw some chum in the water for his base?”
Stirewalt, meanwhile, said there was “probably a lot of truth” in Roberts’ analysis, adding that Trump could just be “trying to provoke a reaction” and sow doubt over the upcoming election results. At the same time, the Fox analyst said the tweet reflected a lot on Trump’s sagging poll numbers amid a raging coronavirus pandemic and disastrous economy.
“We’ve staged elections during the Second World War. We’ve staged elections during other pandemics,” he declared. “And the idea of an incumbent to suggest that we would delay an election now while he is in power is of course totally out of character with all of his predecessors and is sort of a fragrant and flagrant expression of his current weakness.”
“A person who was in a strong position would never, never, suggest anything like that,” Stirewalt added. “So Trump may be making a tactical error here by further telegraphing his weak position in the polls and his weak position for re-election.”
While Stirewalt heavily criticized Trump and framed his tweet as showing weakness, some of Fox’s pro-Trump personalities are already seemingly considering the possibility of delaying the election.
“But if we have mail-in balloting the way it’s scheduled now, there is absolutely no way you will get an election result on election night or even in the first few days,” Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney wondered aloud during a Thursday morning interview with Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
“That means confusion and endless challenges. That is a mess,” Varney continued, adding: “What do you think? Delay the election?”