OLYMPIA - In an email to supporters, Attorney General Bob Ferguson warned that President Donald Trump could try to delay the November election to stay in power. The chairman of the Washington State Republican Party responded by saying Ferguson should apologize, accusing him of trying to fundraise off fears over coronavirus.
“That email from Bob Ferguson really is a scam and he should apologize,” said WA GOP Chair Caleb Heimlich.
The email, sent March 27th to supporters of Ferguson’s reelection campaign, warned in the subject line: “We cannot let Trump postpone the November election.”
“When Ohio delayed their primary election last week, it understandably triggered fear that President Trump would use the global Coronavirus pandemic to delay or cancel the November general election.
It may sound outrageous, but Trump has already exploited his emergency powers to raid hundreds of millions of dollars to build a wall along the southern border. Fortunately, my legal team beat President Trump’s Department of Justice in court, ensuring that he can’t steal funding from Washington state military projects to build his wall.
But with polls showing Trump behind in most battleground states, he may try to exploit this public health emergency to retain power.
If President Trump delays or cancels the November elections, I will consider an emergency lawsuit -- but it should not come to that.”
Marc Lotter, director of strategic communications for Trump 2020, told Q13 News the idea that the president is planning to delay the election is “the dumbest thing I have ever heard.”
“There’s absolutely no truth to that,” he said. “Nobody is giving it credibility, and I’m not going to give it credibility by discussing this foolishness any longer.”
Ferguson told Q13 News that the president has a track record of testing the limits of his power.
“This president has spent the better part of three years breaking all sorts of norms,” Ferguson said. “I speak from a fair amount of experience that 26 times we have sued him and stopped him from doing things he tried to do, and only when federal judges told him he couldn’t did he stop – and those are during good times in our country. We’re now in the middle of a national pandemic health emergency.”
Ferguson is not the first to express concern over the possibility that President Trump could try to delay the November election to retain power. Presidential biographer Jon Meacham recently penned an op-ed in the New York Times, warning of Trump’s “contempt for constitutional convention.”
For the record, delaying an election is not something the president could do unilaterally, even during a national emergency. It would require an act of Congress.