Jared Kushner Suggests Presidential Election Could Be Postponed, Then Walks Back Comments
The Trump administration is not currently considering changing the date of the general election due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A senior administration confirmed to CNN that the White House was not planning to try and change the Nov. 3 date after senior adviser and son-in-law to the president, Jared Kushner, offered vague commentary suggesting changing the date was a possibility. He attempted to walk back those comments in a statement on Wednesday.
In a video interview with Time on Tuesday, Kushner said it is “too far in the future to tell” if the election will be delayed, adding that there were no planned changes that he was aware of.
When asked to commit that the election would happen on Nov. 3, he responded that “it’s not my decision to make.”
“It’s not my decision to make, so I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other,” Kushner said. “But right now, that’s the plan and again, hopefully, by the time we get to September, October, November, we’ve done enough work with testing and with all the different things we’re trying to do to prevent a future outbreak of the magnitude that would make us shut down again. I really believe that once America opens up, it’ll be very hard for America to ever lockdown again.”
In a statement clarifying his comments on Wednesday, Kushner said: “I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election.”
Congress holds the sole power to move a federal election day, and postponing would require the Democrat-led House to agree as well. Individual states, however, have a lot of flexibility in how they conduct elections.
In several Republican states across the country, officials have opposed pushes to increase mail-in voting, arguing that it increases voter fraud and that Americans are still safely able to vote in person. Should the election date change, these legal arguments would have to be reevaluated.
President Donald Trump has previously dismissed the idea of moving the election, despite some Democrats, including presumptive nominee Joe Biden, believing he would use the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to sway the election.
“I never even thought of changing the date of the election. Why would I do that? November 3rd. It’s a good number. No, I look forward to that election,” Trump said on April 27. A month earlier he had confirmed, “The general election will happen on November 3rd.”
Although the Constitution does not specify a date on which elections must be held, it does ensure that Trump’s current term ends on January, 20, 2021 — even if the election ends up being postponed.