Trump claims without evidence that Wisconsin's governor wants to move the primary to stop a conservative justice from getting elected. Gov. Evers requested the change because of the coronavirus.

Donald trump coronavirus press conference

Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump speaks in the press briefing room with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force April 3, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • At Friday's White House briefing dedicated to the administration's response to the novel coronavirus, President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that Wisconsin's Democratic governor wanted to move the primary to prevent a conservative justice from being elected to the state's Supreme Court.
  • Gov. Tony Evers is currently locked in battle with the Republican-controlled legislature to move the primary from April 7 to entirely vote by mail, with ballots due at the end of May.
  • Evers wants to move the primary because of fears that it cannot be conducted safely or effectively because of the coronavirus. Thousands of poll workers have refused to work, while many remaining ones fear for their safety, The New York Times reported.
  • But Trump claimed that after he tweeted an endorsement of Justice Daniel Kelly on Friday, "I hear what happened is his poll numbers went through the roof. And because of that, I think they delayed the election."
  • Over a dozen states - including some controlled by Republican governors - have already postponed their primary due to the coronavirus.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump claimed, without evidence, that Wisconsin was attempting to postpone its April 7 primary in order to prevent a conservative justice he endorsed from winning his election.

In fact, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, has asked the state's Republican-controlled legislature to delay and modify the primary because of fears that the state cannot safely and effectively conduct an in-person election because of the threat posed by the coronavirus.Advertisement

So far, 15 states have postponed their primary elections because of the coronavirus, including states that have Republican governors, such as Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Wisconsin is struggling to find enough poll workers, as thousands have said they will not report for duty and others scared to face crowds of voters for fear of contracting the coronavirus, the New York Times reported.

But Trump claimed at a Friday White House briefing that Wisconsin moved to postpone its primary after he tweeted an endorsement of Justice Daniel Kelly, who is running for the state's Supreme Court.
Advertisement

"In Wisconsin what happened is I through social media put out a very strong endorsement of a Republican conservative judge who's an excellent brilliant judge," Trump said in response to a question about whether the November presidential election could be held safely during the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump continued, "He's a justice, and I hear what happened is his poll numbers went through the roof. And because of that, I think they delayed the election.""All of a sudden, all of a sudden an election which is taking place very soon gets delayed," Trump said. "Now I just endorsed [Kelly] today."Advertisement

He added, "And all of a sudden the governor comes out the Democratic governor, by the way, comes out and says, oh, we're gonna move this election."

Trump went on to claim, without any evidence, that voting by mail would lead to an increase in voter fraud and that "a lot of people cheat with mail-in-voting."

Wisconsin's executive and legislative branches are currently battling out the issue of whether to hold the primary as scheduled.Advertisement

On Friday, Evers called for the legislature to convene for a special session that would consider shifting the primary to vote by absentee ballot, eliminating in-person voting. Under his proposal, ballots would go out by May 19 to registered voters and would have to be returned by May 26. 

"Over the past few weeks, I've asked folks like you for your help-you've practiced social distancing, you've made sacrifices when it comes to your jobs, your schooling, and your day-to-day activities are what we need to flatten the curve to protect the people of our state," Evers tweeted.

He continued, "Well here's the bottom line folks: if, as elected officials, we're going to expect the people of our state to make sacrifices to keep all of us safe, then, by golly, we better be willing do our part, too."Advertisement

 

But Evers could not force the legislature to take up his proposal, and the Republican leadership rebuffed his demand in a statement on Friday.

"Our Republic must continue to function, and the many local government positions on the ballot must be filled so that municipalities can swiftly respond to the crisis at hand," said Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald in a joint statement.Advertisement

As of Friday evening, the primary, and in-person voting, is still scheduled for April 7.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you'd like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email covidtips@businessinsider.com and tell us your story.And get the latest coronavirus analysis and research from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is impacting businesses.Advertisement

{{}}