Kris Kobach, who leads President Donald Trump’s commission investigating possible voter fraud, on Monday termed “pathetic” a call by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that the panel disband.
Schumer urged the commission’s dismantlement last week as he linked it to racial tensions after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month sparked by a white supremacist rally. Schumer called the commission a “ruse” for Trump administration efforts to have states adopt discriminatory voting laws.
Kobach, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas who is the commission’s de facto leader ― Vice President Mike Pence is its formal chairman ― told Roll Call that Schumer’s comments were “a pathetic, partisan attempt to wrap Charlottesville around every issue he can think of.”
“Usually he makes an intelligent point and doesn’t say something ridiculous,” Kobach said. “This was surprising. Because I expect him to be partisan, but I also, in the past, have expected him to be smart. And this was poorly informed and ridiculous in trying to tie photo I.D. laws — or the commission — to Charlottesville.”
Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May. Kobach will chair its next meeting on Sept. 12 in Manchester, New Hampshire. That state’s secretary of state, Democrat Bill Gardner, is a commission member and has invited Schumer to speak at the meeting.
“The commission should hear what the senator has to say, and given his very strong views this is a good opportunity for him to come and observe what the commission’s work has been all about,” Gardner told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Saturday.
Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Schumer has also said he may push for an end to the commission through legislation when Congress reconvenes in September.