The White House on Friday condemned China's decision to delay an election in Hong Kong by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic even as Donald Trump continues floating the idea about the US election slated for November.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump administration officials "condemn the Hong Kong government's decision to postpone for one year its legislative ... elections, and to disqualify opposition candidates. This action undermines democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong's prosperity."
"This is only the most recent [of] a growing list of broken promises by Beijing," she added.
That came less than 24 hours after the US president again signalled he would support – even prefer – the 3 November election in the United States be delayed, arguing a massive increase in mail-in ballots due to fears about voting in person inevitably will lead to widespread fraud.
"I want an election and a result, much, much more than you," Mr Trump said at the White House on Thursday evening.
"I don't want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don't want to have to wait three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing, and the election doesn't mean anything."
The president help up print outs of recent media reports detailing problems with mail-in ballots. The list included reporting from major US media outlets like The Washington Post and others.
Mr Trump, citing those reports, warned that big number of ballots – suggesting enough to change the election's outcome – could arrive late, causing uncertainty for weeks or even years.
"Do I want to see a date change?" Mr Trump asked rhetorically before answering himself: "No, but I don't want to see a crooked election."
That comment came in response to a reporter's question, during an evening coronavirus briefing, about his morning tweet all but endorsing an election day – something he does not have the power to do because the US Constitution hands the power of setting the election date to Congress.
That set off a daylong scramble by some of his closest congressional GOP allies to knock down the idea.
Among them was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who told said the November election date is etched in stone. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy also chimed in, saying the 3 November election “should go forward.”
Mr Trump and top aides tried to walk back the tweet, saying the president was referring to an election conducted exclusively or mostly by mail.
Democrats are accusing Mr Trump of realising he is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden badly in polls, and creating a potential way to stay in office longer.