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Donald Trump does not have the authority to try to postpone the 2020 presidental election because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, former vice president Joe Biden told viewers of comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s late night TV show.
With the United States under conditions of social distancing and lockdowns to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the future of this year’s elections have been a question, and Kimmel asked Biden if Trump could simply postpone the election to a later date.
(In fact, Kimmel himself–like many other TV hosts now–is now broadcasting his program from his home with Biden joining from his own remote video hook-up.)
“No, he doesn’t have the authority to do that. Now, it’s possible that he may start a drumbeat saying it should be postponed. But Jon Meacham, who’s become a friend, he’s an historian, pointed out that we’re in a position where we’ve had elections in the middle of Civil War, during the Civil War, and during World War I, World War II, what happened with the virus in 1917?” Biden said, referring to Meacham’s recent proposals to engineer this year’s elections with mail-in ballots, or what Meacham terms “curbside democracy.” “Democracy and dealing with this crisis have to be able to be done at the same time.
“What I think you’re going to see more of, Jimmy, is I think you’re going to see more of what [Sen.] Amy Klobuchar had been proposing, and that is being able to vote early in your areas and by mail. I think we’re going to see more of that happening as well,” added Biden, who appears to be leading in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination this year.
Kimmel asked Biden if Klobuchar is on Biden’s list for a running mate, as Biden as committed selecting a woman. A Minnesota Democrat, Klobuchar ran for president herself before dropping out earlier this month.
“Is she on your list?” Kimmel asked.
“She is fully qualified to be president,” Biden said.
Kimmel also asked his guest if he thought Trump will debate Biden in the fall or would Trump try to dodge that.
“I don’t know,” Biden replied. “I hope we debate. I’m looking forward to that.”
General election presidental debates between the major party candidates are organized and run by the bipartisan Commission on Presidental Debates.
The last time an incumbent president refused to debate his challenger was Richard Nixon, in 1972.
The Democratic National Committee proved that a debate can be held in the midst of the pandemic, as it held its most recent debate between Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt).
Originally set for Phoenix, Ariz., the DNC moved the encounter to a studio in Washington DC, held without a studio audience.
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