President Trump on Thursday blamed Democrats’ push for funding for universal mail-in ballots as one of the reasons for a delay in negotiations on Capitol Hill over a fourth coronavirus stimulus package, claiming the practice in the 2020 election would cause "the greatest fraud in history."
During an exclusive interview with FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning, the president said negotiations over the fourth economic stimulus relief package were held up, in part, due to Democrats' demands for billions of dollars in funding toward mail-in voting.
"It's their fault," Trump said. "They want $3.5 billion for something that's fraudulent ... for the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots."
Trump added: "But if they don't get those two items, then they can't have mail-in ballots."
The president went on to slam the practice, saying that ballots have been “sent to dogs” and "dead people," citing states like Virginia, where he said more than “500,000 phony ballot applications were sent to voters,” and in New York, where mail-in voting caused a weekslong delay in announcing results for some races in the state's primary.
“How would you like to have $3.5 billion for mail-in voting? You know how much money that is? They want $25 billion for the post office because the post office is going to have to go to town to get these ridiculous ballots in,” Trump said.
The president went on to say that “there is nothing wrong with getting out and voting” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“They voted in World War I and in World War II,” Trump said. “They should have voter ID because Democrats scammed the system.”
He added, shifting back to negotiations on Capitol Hill, “If we don’t make a deal, that means they won’t get the money and they won’t have universal mail-in voting.”
The president went on to cite California, where he said the state is sending out “tens of millions of ballots.”
“Maybe they’ll go to everyone but Republicans,” he said. “We’re challenging it in court. It’s being challenged at many different levels.”
He added: “This will be the greatest fraud in history — this will be almost as fraudulent as Obama spying on my campaign.”
The president and the Republican Party have been warning for months about possible fraud connected to mail-in voting. The RNC and the Trump campaign have filed lawsuits to hit back against efforts by Democrats to overhaul voting laws in response to the pandemic.
Democrats, pushing back against the claims by Trump and the GOP, say that cases of actual voter fraud are limited and claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voter turnout to improve their chances of winning elections.
Meanwhile, the president went on to further slam Democrats, like freshman progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who he predicted would eventually challenge Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and said she would win.
The president, though, slammed her as a “poor student,” saying she “yaps” but said that Schumer “will be heated by her.”
“AOC will run against Chuck Schumer for the Senate and I think she’ll win.”
The president then said the "progressive Democrats are beating the regular Democrats."
“Look at Eliot Engel! What happened to Engel? What happened? What happened?” He said. “Ya lost, Eliot.”
Trump was citing incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., who lost in his primary against progressive candidate Jamaal Bowman.
“I think we’re going to take the House because Nancy Pelosi is stone-cold crazy,” he said, predicting an election result for 2020. “We’re going to take back the House and we’re going to hold the presidency.”
He did say, though, that Republicans “will be fighting very hard in the Senate.”
“We have a couple of people who aren’t as supportive of Trump,” he said. “But if they don’t support Trump they’ll lose their election.”
It is unclear which Republican senators the president was referring to, but earlier this week, the president sparred with Ben Sasse after the Republican senator from Nebraska criticized his executive actions over the weekend that would provide economic relief to American citizens amid the coronavirus pandemic as an “unconstitutional slop.”
“You have a few people who want to be cute, and I think they’re going to lose their elections,” Trump said. “And that’s a problem for the Senate.”
Meanwhile, Biden campaign Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates responded, calling mail-in voting the "most secure form of voting."
"The President of the United States is sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon, cutting a critical lifeline for rural economies and for delivery of medicines, because he wants to deprive Americans of their fundamental right to vote safely during the most catastrophic public health crisis in over 100 years -- a crisis so devastatingly worsened by his own failed leadership that we are now the hardest hit country in the world by the coronavirus pandemic," Bates said in a statement. "Even Donald Trump's own campaign has endorsed voting by mail and his own administration has conclusively refuted his wild-eyed conspiracy theories about the most secure form of voting."
He added: "This is an assault on our democracy and economy by a desperate man who's terrified that the American people will force him to confront what he's done everything in his power to escape for months -- responsibility for his own actions."