Trump wanted to use the Covid-19 pandemic to call off the 2020 election, Wolff book says

Business Insider US
Donald Trump. Getty Images
Donald Trump. Getty Images
  • Trump considered calling off the 2020 election over the Covid-19 pandemic, a new book says.
  • Michael Wolff's book says Trump raised this issue twice in July last year.
  • Around then, Trump tweeted about delaying the election due to baseless concern over mail-in voting.
  • For more stories go to

Former US President Donald Trump suggested using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to not hold the 2020 presidential election, according to a new book.

An excerpt from Michael Wolff's book "Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency" published in The Times of London on Wednesday said that Trump raised the prospect twice over the summer.

According to the excerpt, in July 2020 Trump had been mulling ways of managing the pandemic without angering his largely anti-mask, anti-lockdown political base.

Then, Wolff writes, he brought up another pandemic-related idea: Delaying the election over it. He later spoke of "calling it off," the book said.

"People can't get to the polls. It's a national emergency. Right?" Trump is reported as saying.

Mark Meadows, then-White House Chief of Staff, stepped up to say that that there is no constitutional way that's possible, Wolff wrote.

But Trump seemed unconvinced, saying: "I'm sure there might be a way, but ... well ..." Wolff wrote.

Trump again raised the idea a few days later at a debate preparation session in Bedminster, New Jersey, with Chris Christie, according to Wolff.

"I'm thinking about calling it off," is what the excerpt says Trump told Christie.

"The prep?" Christie reportedly said.

"No, the election - too much virus," Trump is reported as saying. Christie then told him "you can't do that, man," adding: "You do know, you can't declare martial law. You do know that, right?" according to Wolff.

The idea of postponing the election was definitely on Trump's mind around this time.

On July 30, Trump caused outrage by suggesting in a tweet that the election might have to be delayed because of his bogus concerns about mail-in voting.

It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" he wrote.

As Insider's Grace Panetta reported, the president does not have that power.

Trump's representative Liz Harrington did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on this excerpt, but tweeted Tuesday that "all these stories from the Michael Wolff book are not true."

Wolff has previously been accused of errors and exaggerations in his work on Trump, with several reporters noting discrepancies in his earlier book "Fire and Fury," according to CNBC.

In response, Wolff told CNBC he "certainly and absolutely" stood by his work.

In a tweet defending the book, Wolff said that he only included episodes which Trump's staff had either confirmed or came from several other sources.

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