The Chinese government’s decision to delay upcoming elections in Hong Kong undermines the democratic process, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday — even as her boss floated the possibility of doing exactly the same thing in the U.S.
“We condemn the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone for one year its Legislative Council elections,” McEnany said at a press conference. “This effort undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity.”
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said Friday that elections scheduled for early September will be delayed because of the risks of spreading the coronavirus.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump floated the possibility of postponing the U.S. election in November, claiming without any basis in fact that the vote would be “fraudulent” due to more voting by mail amid the COVID-19 crisis. Trump does not have the power to postpone the election.
The president repeated the baseless claims on Friday, calling the U.S. election “fixed” and “rigged” and the “greatest election disaster in history” before it even occurs. He is currently polling behind his opponent, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Asked his thoughts about the Hong Kong election delay, Trump refused to discuss it: “I want to right now focus on this election,” he said, meaning the one in the U.S.
He promised a statement “soon” about Hong Kong and abruptly stopped taking questions.
Trump’s proposal to delay the U.S. election has infuriated Democrats and has not been supported by Republicans.
Influential conservative law professor and co-founder of The Federalist Society Steve Calabresi said Thursday that Trump’s tweet is grounds for removal from office. He called the tweet “fascistic.”