052420-cp-web-sondermann-1

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., speaks as President Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the Broadmoor World Arena Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, during the president's visit to Colorado Springs. (Christian Murdock/The Gazette)

As other events of his presidency spun around him this week, President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that perhaps the November election should be delayed.

Trump tweeted, "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," he wrote. "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"

Democrats in the delegation were expectedly vocal in their dissent, but U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma facing reelection, also broke with Trump on the matter. He issued a statement Thursday:

“Our country has voted in turbulent times before, including a Civil War, two World Wars, and a global pandemic," Gardner stated. "Congress has the power to set the election date. Americans are going to vote on November 3rd, come hell or high water.”

Numerous pundits and constitutional experts quickly, as they have previously, noted that delaying the election would not allow President Trump to remain in office after his term expires on Jan. 20. The same is true of Sen. Cory Gardner, who is up for re-election this year.

After Jan. 20, the senators who are still in office — meaning those who did not face election this November — would decide, and Democrats would hold the advantage, wrote Alan Dershowitz, one of the president's lawyers during his impeachment this year, in an op-ed for The Hill newspaper on April 16. 

"The longest serving majority senator is traditionally handed the honor of serving as the president pro tempore of the chamber," he wrote. "Among Democrats that would be Patrick Leahy. But a Democratic majority could choose any sitting senator for that role, including Elizabeth Warren and even Bernie Sanders."

Democrats in the Colorado delegation were even less receptive to the suggestion. 

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Aurora who helped prosecute the impeachment case before the Senate this year, called it shameless as he invoked the name of late Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon from Georgia.

“The president has no shame," Crow, an Army combat veteran and attorney, said in a statement. "On the day that our nation buries one of our greatest voting and civil rights heroes, he is pushing baseless theories to undermine our election. Make no mistake, vote by mail is safe and it works. Let’s be clear, President Trump can’t delay the election but we shouldn’t be surprised if he tries to undermine it.

"What does it say about his character that the president has repeatedly voted by mail but he seeks to deny that right to the American people during a pandemic? Once again, President Trump is putting himself above our country.”

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver, a Democrat, tweeted about the matter.

"This is so dangerous," said the former presidential candidate. "Americans and elected officials at every level — from every party — must reject this unprecedented threat to our democracy and stand up for the integrity of our elections," he tweeted.

Bennet pivoted to Colorado.

"Mr. President, Colorado has voted by mail for years," he continued. "We have one of the highest turnout rates in America. We have virtually zero fraud. And, in two of our last three elections, more registered Republicans voted by mail than Democrats.

"Those are facts. Try them."

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette also weighed in on Twitter, as well: 

"Let’s be clear: President Trump cannot delay the election. Colorado has shown voting by mail is secure & can be deployed across the U.S. No one should have to choose between their health & their right to vote. Every voter should have the option to vote-by-mail this Nov."

Colorado Politics senior political reporter

Joey Bunch is the senior correspondent and deputy managing editor of Colorado Politics. His 32-year career includes the last 16 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and he is a two-time finalist.

Load comments