President Trump continued to air his grievances over voting by mail, as unemployment benefits coronavirus pandemic has decimated broad swaths of economic activity.after Capitol Hill failed to reach an agreement Thursday. The day was also marked by the release of some of the worst economic figures in U.S. history — the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank at an annualized rate of 32.9% in the second quarter of the year, evidence that the
The Senate adjourned Thursday afternoon, with Republicans and Democrats far apart on how to extend expanded unemployment benefits for those out of work because of the virus. The additional federal payments of $600 per week were a provision of the CARES Act and set to end on July 31. Mr. Trump on Thursday called for the temporary extension of these payments and a program to halt evictions, and he also urged Congress to issue another round of direct payments to Americans, plus $105 billion to help schools safely reopen.
The president, who had previously pinned his reelection hopes on a booming economy and pays close attention to economic indicators, made little mention of the grim GDP news. But he continues to question, something the president does not have the authority to change.
"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" the president posed on Twitter Thursday.
On Capitol Hill, many Republicans brushed aside the president's remarks orand insisted the presidential election will take place as planned on November 3. Mr. Trump has made sweeping, unsubstantiated allegations that voting by mail allows widespread voter fraud, even though he and many of his top aides have voted absentee or by mail.
Asked to explain his tweet in the news conference Thursday, the president said he doesn't want to delay the election, but said also doesn't want to see votes turn up uncounted after the election. Mr. Trump said he plans to vote absentee this year.
"I don't want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don't want to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing, and the election doesn't mean anything," said the president, adding this could be the most rigged election in history.
The president, who has pushed for schools to reopen across the country, offered no assurances when asked how he can be sure schools are safe. The president did point out that children are far less likely to become seriously ill from the virus than adults.
Asked how he can assure families that schools will be safe when sports teams have had outbreaks that have forced the to quarantine, the president responded, "So, can you assure anybody of anything?"
On Wednesday, the U.S. hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, with— according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That's more confirmed fatalities than any other country in the world.