Former US president Donald Trump has made a claim that President Joe Biden’s administration will exploit the resurgence of Covid-19 to revise election rules with the intention to prevent Trump from winning the upcoming election. In a video message released on Thursday, Trump expressed his belief that “left-wing lunatics” were attempting to bring back Covid lockdowns and mandates in order to create fear surrounding new variants of the virus. He stated, “Gee whiz, you know what else is coming? An election.” Trump went on to say that the purpose of restarting the Covid hysteria was to justify more lockdowns, censorship, illegal drop boxes, mail-in ballots, and financial rewards for political allies leading up to the 2024 election.
In the 2020 election, both Democrat and Republican governors invoked the threat of Covid-19 to make changes to election laws. These changes included issuing mail-in ballots to more voters, accepting ballots beyond the usual election-day deadline, permitting party activists to collect ballots from drop-boxes, and accepting absentee ballots without witness signatures. The implementation of these laws differed from state to state, with Democrat-run states generally waiving the most rules.
Although the election resulted in Trump’s loss, it was Trump himself who continually extended the state of emergency declaration which justified the election rule changes. He also enforced a nationwide lockdown in March and April 2020, recommended the closure of schools based on national guidelines, and appointed Dr. Anthony Fauci, a proponent of Covid mandates, to lead his coronavirus task force.
In response to these allegations, Trump stated in the video message, “To every Covid tyrant who wants to take away our freedom, hear these words: we will not comply, so don’t even think about it. We will not shut down our schools; we will not accept your lockdowns; we will not abide by your mask mandates; and we will not tolerate your vaccine mandates.” He continued to claim that the 2020 election was rigged and that the current administration was attempting to do the same for the upcoming election, which he deemed the most important in the history of the country.
Public health officials are currently monitoring the spread of two new Covid variants, EG.5 (or Eris) and BA.2.86. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) no longer tracks new cases of the virus, recent figures indicate a 19% increase in hospitalizations and a 17% increase in deaths between the second and third week of August. However, compared to the same month last year, this month has seen only a quarter as many hospitalizations, with the majority of patients over the age of 65, according to CDC Director Mandy Cohen.
Despite these statistics, several universities in Georgia and Louisiana have reinstated mask mandates, as have some healthcare providers and businesses.
Overall, Trump’s claim suggests that the reemergence of Covid-19 is being utilized as a tool by the current administration to alter election rules and inhibit his chances of winning in the upcoming election. He argues that the purpose of this alleged strategy is to instigate fear and justify further restrictions on personal freedoms. The ongoing debate surrounding both Covid-19 and election integrity continues to generate controversy and discussion among politicians, experts, and the general public.