Politics

Trump 'will try' to cancel elections, says former Obama advisor

Robert Reich warned that Donald Trump may use the coronavirus crisis in an attempt to block presidential elections this November

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Former US secretary of labor Robert Reich has told The Big Issue he believes Donald Trump will try to use the coronavirus crisis to block presidential elections this November.

“I think constitutionally Trump has no grounds to suspend or cancel the election – but I think he is going to try,” Reich told our journalist Sam Delaney.

Reich added: “The only agenda is Donald Trump himself. He is always his own primary agenda. He doesn’t care about the country or the people.”

The American presidential elections are scheduled for November 3, but with the outlook for stay-at-home orders unclear, questions have been raised about how almost 140 million people might get to the polls.

Primary elections – to choose the Democratic candidate who will face Trump – have already been thrown into disarray, with some states being asked either to put their health at risk or forfeit their democratic right to vote.

Trump does not have the power alone to delay the election, as the date is set by federal law. To do so, Congress would have to intervene.

Even were the election postponed, the constitution states that Trump’s term as president will run out on 20 January, 2021.

Reich, 74, is an economist, professor and author. He has served in three presidential administrations – under Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. He also worked on Obama’s economic advisory board.

Reich has previously called Trump’s pandemic response a failure. He told The Big Issue that it is Trump’s selfishness that has hampered the U.S. effort to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For two months he denied the risk – he said it was a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats. He didn’t organise the federal government to be ready, he minimised what the threat was to the public,” said Reich.

“To this day, he is doling out equipment on the basis of political leanings of the state governors. So I really think he will have blood on his hands.”

Read the full interview with Robert Reich in this week’s edition of The Big Issue, available as a digital download in our app or from The Big Issue Shop.

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