President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, on Tuesday refused to commit to the pandemic-besieged United States holding the 2020 presidential election on its designated day, November 3.
Kushner, whose father-in-law’s approval rating has been trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s amid the COVID-19 pandemic that so far has killed more than 82,000 Americans, raised the possibility of a Trump-orchestrated delay in answer to Time magazine White House correspondent Brian Bennett.
Bennett asked during the live-streamed interview: “Is there any scenario, including a second outbreak in the fall, where the election is moved past November 3rd?”
“That’s too far in the future to tell,” Kushner replied. “Nothing that I’m aware of now…It’s not my decision to make. I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other. But right now that’s the plan.”
He later tried to explain his remarks to The New York Times, saying: “I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the Presidential election.”
Kushner’s response, allowing for the possibility of a delay, sounded like a Trump campaign trial balloon launched during Tuesday’s installment of the Time100 Talk series. It seemed to disregard provisions of the Constitution that give only the states and Congress, not the president, the power to delay a presidential election, according to the National Constitution Center.
“Unlike the practice of some states that allow the Governor to postpone an election during emergencies, neither the Constitution nor Congress provides any similar power to the President or other federal officials to change this date outside of Congress’s regular legislative process,” reads an article on the center’s web site, quoting a report from the Congressional Research Service. “The presidential election date has never been changed in response to an emergency.”
Elaborating on his answer, Kushner seemed to be saying that the date of the election will depend on Trump administration’s success in combating the lethal coronavirus outbreak that has thrown more than 30 million Americans out of work, exploded the federal deficit, severely depressed the stock market and, according to public polling, seriously damaged Trump’s re-election prospects.
“Hopefully—by the time we get to September or October or November, we’ve done enough with the testing and all the different things we’re trying to do, to prevent an outbreak of the magnitude that would make us shut down again,” Kushner said.