With the coronavirus pandemic threatening to disrupt ongoing elections and looming over the major vote in November, universal mail-in voting has become more of a necessity than ever.
But President Donald Trump, and Republicans more generally, are terrified of the idea — because they clearly fear that easier access to the polls will tank their chances of holding on to power.
At his Tuesday circus-like press briefing, ostensibly about the coronavirus crisis, a reporter pressed him on his opposition to voting by mail. While he declared categorically that voting by mail is bad, the reporter pointed out that he, in fact, votes by mail.
Trump had no coherent response.
"I think mail-in voting is horrible. It's corrupt!" he said.
"But you voted by mail in Florida's election last month, didn't you?" a reporter asked.
"Sure! I can vote by mail," Trump said, refusing to recognize his contradiction.
"How do you reconcile that?" the reporter responded.
"Because I'm allowed to!" Trump shot back. Of course, the whole question at issue is whether everyone should be allowed to vote by mail. "You know why I voted? Because I happen to be in the White House, and I won't be able to go to Florida to vote."
This is precisely the point, of course. Because of the coronavirus, many fear that it may not be reasonable or safe for them to go to the polls in November. So it would be much easier and fairer if everyone were simply allowed to vote by mail.
"But what's the difference between mailing within state and mailing outside the state?" the reporter said.
"There's a big difference between somebody's who's out of state, and does a ballot, and everything is sealed, certified, and everything else," Trump said. Of course, there's no reason why universal mail-in voting couldn't have all the same protections as absentee voting.
At this point, though, Trump just started spouting completely baseless and incoherent conspiracy theories, and he was barely able to even articulate a claim clearly enough for a fact-checker to evaluate. It was just utter nonsense.
"And you get thousands and thousands of people sitting in someone's living room signing ballots all over the place. No!" he said. "I think that mail-in voting is a terrible thing. I think if you vote, you should go. And even the concept of early voting is not the greatest. Because a lot of things happen. But it's OK. But you should go, and you should vote. You should go, and you should vote. You look at what they do, where they grab thousands of mail-in ballots and they dump it. I tell you what, and I don't have to tell you. You can look at the statistics." It's not clear at all what Trump was talking about, but overall voter fraud is extremely rare, and mail-in voting is very safe.
Watch the clip below:
President Trump: "I think mail-in voting is horrible, it's corrupt."
Reporter: "You voted by mail in Florida's election last month, didn't you?"
Trump: "Sure. I can vote by mail"
Reporter: "How do you reconcile with that?"
Trump: "Because I'm allowed to." pic.twitter.com/Es8ZNyB3O1
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 7, 2020