President Trump said Monday that the vote-by-mail proposal in the original Democrat-backed House version of the coronavirus stimulus bill would have ensured that no Republicans were ever elected again.
“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting that if you ever agreed to, you would never have a Republican elected in this country again,” Trump said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “They had things in there about election days and what you do and all sorts of drawbacks. They had things that were just totally crazy.”
Trump was referring to provisions that would have given $4 billion to states to boost mail-in and absentee ballots. Specific proposals included requiring states to send absentee ballots to every registered voter, requiring online and same-day voter registration, and expanding early voting by 15 days.
The House ended up passing the Senate’s stimulus bill. It was signed by Trump last week and included $400 million for states to make preparations for holding elections during the coronavirus pandemic but did not include any specific requirements for how the money could be used.
Democrats and election security advocates argued the $400 million was not enough, pushing for $2 billion to be sent to states to cover expenses instead.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who introduced legislation separately earlier this month to boost mail-in voting, vowed to keep pushing for more funding in future coronavirus stimulus packages.
House Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who spearheaded the addition of the election funds and policies to the House version of the stimulus package, pushed back strongly against Trump’s comments on Monday, describing them as “morally bankrupt.”
“The President says that if we make it easier to vote, Republicans will lose elections,” Lofgren said in a statement. “He is apparently willing to expose voters to the deadly COVID-19 for purely partisan political advantage.”
She emphasized that “this is morally bankrupt and a monstrous example of putting party ahead of America. Every American, regardless of party affiliation, should condemn the President’s apparent belief that it’s a good thing for American voters to risk their lives when safer voting alternatives are possible.”
Ellen Kurz, the founder and CEO of iVote, a political action committee, told The Hill that Trump’s “sentiments bring into stark relief why Republican officials across the country have taken every opportunity to keep people from voting.”
However, Rep. Rodney Davis (Ill.), the top Republican on the elections-focused House Administration Committee, applauded the election requirements for states being left out of the new law, citing concerns they would have federalized elections.
“States are already working around the clock to keep their elections functioning during this national emergency,” Davis said in a statement following the House’s approval of the stimulus bill last week. “The last thing they need is for the federal government to impose time consuming mandates.”
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