WAHINGTON (Dispatches) - In his third exposé of Donald Trump, biographer Michael Wolff claimed the former president was considering postponing the 2020 U.S. election due to coronavirus.
In the author’s new book, Landside: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, published next week, he recounts Trump’s last months in office during which time he reportedly rejected advice from Jared Kushner to take the pandemic more seriously, despite polls showing a majority of Americans saw masks and testing as the best way to reopen the economy.
In an excerpt published in The Times, Wolff writes, “The scowling president dug in. ‘I know my people. They won’t have it. They don’t believe it. No mask mandates!’ He clenched his shoulders and lifted his hands to ward off the mask mandate, his whole body seeming to revolt at the very notion.”
“Trying to move Trump one way often resulted in moving him the other. But the president suddenly went from sourness to delight. He had another way of dealing with COVID. If the Democrats were using COVID against him, he would use it against them: they could just use COVID as a reason to delay the election. ‘People can’t get to the polls. It’s a national emergency. Right?’” he added.
Wolff writes that Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, tried to explain that there was no mechanism for delaying the election.
But the president supposedly returned to the subject while talking to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie about the 2020 election during a mock debate session.
“I’m thinking about calling it off,’ said Trump.
“The prep?” said Christie.
“No, the election — too much virus,” Trump said.
“Well, you can’t do that, man,” said Christie, a former U.S. attorney, half chuckling, adding, “You do know, you can’t declare martial law. You do know that, right?”
The paragraph concludes, “It was both alarming and awkward that he might not.”
Trump appeared reluctant to fully commit to the 2020 election, commenting before a single ballot had been cast that the mail-in voting process would be “catastrophic”. Former president Barack Obama accused Trump of criticizing postal voting to “undermine the election”.