During an interview with Yahoo News on Thursday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan condemned President Trump for his “outrageous” assertion that the November presidential election should be delayed.
Hogan, a Republican who has been hailed for his early and aggressive response to the coronavirus, made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo News’ “Skullduggery” podcast.
“I never cease to be amazed by things the president tweets, but even that one took me by surprise,” Hogan said. “He can’t postpone the election, he doesn’t have the power to do it, and that’s why it’s an outrageous statement. … To say that we’re going to postpone the election because of rampant fraud we haven't seen — it just doesn’t make sense."
Hogan said that the president’s insistence that mail-in voting is plagued by fraud is completely baseless. “In Maryland we’ve been able to vote by mail with absentee ballots for twenty years and it’s worked very well,” he said.
In a pair of tweets Thursday morning, Trump cited fraud as the reason he wants the election delayed.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
The president does not have the authority to delay the election, a power afforded only to Congress.
During a press conference tonight the president defended his suggestion that the election be delayed, pointing to newspaper articles which he claimed support his contention that voting by mail leads to fraud. He said he is eager to have the election held on Nov. 3 but worries about the chaos that could ensue if results are not immediately available and ballots go missing.
“If they do this, our country will be a laughingstock all over the world because everyone knows it doesn’t work,” Trump said of vote-by-mail. “We’re asking for a lot of trouble. Do I want to see a date change? No. But I don’t want to see a crooked election. This election will be the most rigged election in history if that happens.”
Hogan also criticized another pair of tweets that Trump posted on Wednesday. In the tweets, the president announced his decision to rescind a fair housing rule, saying he was “happy to inform all of the people living their suburban lifestyle dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low-income housing built in your neighborhood.”
He added: “Your housing prices will go up based on the market and crime will go down.”
Hogan said he could not comment on “what goes on inside the head of Donald Trump or how he decides what crazy things to tweet in the middle of the night.” Asked if it was a racist tweet, Hogan said, “it certainly sounded like one.”
Hogan, who is chairman of the National Governors Association, said the president’s tweets also have hurt the efforts of the White House coronavirus task force, which Hogan has worked with closely to combat the pandemic in his own state.
“The tweeting has been counterproductive and off-message and harmful to the things that the rest of the whole coronavirus team and his administration was trying to convey and that the governors were trying to do,” Hogan said.
“When the president was running for office and when he first became president ... people would ask, ‘Do you have any advice for the president?’ and I said, ‘Stop tweeting!’”
Hogan has raised his profile on the national stage since the pandemic began. On Wednesday, he announced Maryland’s long-standing mask mandate would now cover all indoor spaces as well as outdoor spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
Hogan said Maryland has long since recovered from an April coronavirus peak and that its testing positivity rate is now below 5 percent. But he said he is concerned about the numbers ticking back up given a spike in infections elsewhere.
“We have gotten the virus under control from 30-some percent positivity down to 4,” Hogan said. “Masks more than anything else can keep people safe and stop the spread.”
Hogan said contact tracing has shown most new Maryland infections were occurring in office settings and in crowded outdoor spaces, so he expanded his mask mandate accordingly. He said he believes a national mask mandate would help the country beat back the virus, but he does not expect the president to endorse the idea.
“Masking is the easiest thing to do as opposed to shutting everything down, and it’s worked well for us,” Hogan said.
“It seems like a pretty simple thing to do and I think it’s something that his entire coronavirus task force, I think, has been talking about and I think they would all advise him in that direction.”
“From the beginning, I’ve said that we got off on the wrong foot, the president wasn’t taking this virus seriously enough,” Hogan said.
Hogan has had weekly calls with the president and his coronavirus team since the beginning of the outbreak, he said.
“We have these meetings every single week with all the governors that [Vice President] Pence leads with much of the Cabinet,” Hogan said.
“We have really productive discussions: They talk about the science; they go over the numbers and the data. And the president will tweet something or say something in a press conference an hour or two later that’s completely opposite, on a totally different page, from the rest of his administration. ... The guy in charge just doesn’t seem to be on board with the rest of his team.”
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