US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he will call on the National Guard to Portland if violent protests continue. Trump spoke as Oregon police on Thursday prepared to take over the protection of a federal court in Portland. (July 30)
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced on Friday that the government would postpone highly anticipated legislative elections by a year, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
“We condemn the Hong Kong Government’s decision to postpone an election to the Legislative Council for a year,” Secretary of State Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Friday. “This action undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity.”
McEnany’s remarks came a day after Trump fired from Republicans to raise the prospect of delaying the November election because of the COVID-19 pandemic and his unproven concerns about expanded post-in voting. The president does not have the authority to unilaterally move an election and the idea met with strong opposition on Capitol Hill.
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The president later looked at the question of whether he supported Hong Kong’s postponement.
“I want to focus on this election right now, I will have a statement on that soon,” he told reporters during a roundtable discussion with the leadership of the National Association of Police Organizations. “I heard that they did the delay in Hong Kong, and we will have a statement on that. But I want to focus on this.”
Many critics pushed back the idea with arguments similar to those used by McEnany to criticize Hong Kong’s delay.
“All I can say is that no matter what an individual in this country says, we are still a country based on the rule of law and we want to follow the law,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Speaking later on Thursday, Trump seemed to return to the idea but does not completely rule it out as he continued to cast doubt on efforts to expand postal voting in some states in response to coronavirus.
On Thursday, McEnany indirectly answered the question of whether the White House would unequivocally rule out delayed elections.
“The president responded to this three times yesterday,” McEnany said. “He said ‘I want the date more than anyone else. I do not want any delay. I want the choice.'”
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The launch in Hong Kong is a setback for the democratic opposition, which hoped to take advantage of the humiliation with the current majority in Beijing to win gains. A group of 22 lawmakers issued a statement ahead of the announcement, accusing the government of using the outburst as an excuse to delay the vote.
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