Trump — who has previously voted by mail employing the very process he now decries — has railed against states offering mail-in voting leading up to this year’s national elections at the same time millions of Americans worry about voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots,” Trump tweeted Sunday before making the unsubstantiated claim that people steal the ballots from mailboxes in order to print thousands of forgeries and “force” others to sign them.
Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that U.S. national security agencies have a “very strong infrastructure” to combat election interference and to “make sure we have a free and fair election” in November.
Several states with both Republican and Democratic leadership already allow voting by mail. Others have sought to expand voter access to mail-in ballots as public health officials continue to discourage large gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Trump has openly mused that higher “levels of voting” would mean “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” He argued Sunday that efforts to make voting easier during the pandemic were part of a scam to rig the election, again without offering any evidence or substantiation.
Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold funding from the state of Michigan because the state sent voters applications to vote by mail. He issued a similar threat to Nevada. Both Michigan and Nevada are widely considered swing states heading into this year’s presidential election.
The Republican Party has previously supported efforts to restrict access to mail-in voting, including recent efforts in Wisconsin and Florida.
But a number of Republican lawmakers have publicly distanced themselves from Trump’s and the party’s unfounded arguments that mail-in voting is ripe for corruption.
Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that absentee voting should be allowed “as long as you can do it safely, as long as you can make sure there’s no fraud.”
“We ought to be able to do absentee ballots like we do it in Florida,” Scott said.
Earlier this week, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told HuffPost he expects “90%” of Utahns to submit mail-in ballots, rebutting Trump’s claim that voting by mail hurts Republicans.
“It works very, very well. And it’s a very Republican state,” Romney added.