KEY POINTS

  • President Donald Trump has spent months assailing mail-in voting as a "fraud" that will cost him re-election in November
  • Trump now says he is in favor of mail-in voting, but only in Florida, a key battleground state
  • Reversal comes amid GOP criticism, polls showing Joe Biden leading in the swing state

President Donald Trump is suddenly singing the praises of universal mail-in or absentee voting in the 2020 general election, but only in the key swing state of Florida.

After months of calling universal mail-in voting a “fraud” that would yield a corrupt election result, Trump abruptly flip-flopped on the issue Tuesday. Explaining his volte-face, Trump said he supports voting by mail in Florida, but not in other states.

“(Florida has) been doing this over many years and they’ve made it really terrific,” Trump said in a White House briefing. “This took years to do. This doesn’t take weeks or months. In the case of Nevada, they’re going to be voting in a matter of weeks. And you can’t do that.”

Trump's reversal comes only days after threatening to sue Nevada over the state's new vote-by-mail law. On Monday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a bill that makes it the eighth state to adopt universal mail-in voting for the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!"

The move comes less than a week after top GOP leaders challenged his tweets savaging the mail-in voting process, which is being proposed in numerous states as a method of combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

GOP pundits warned Trump's repeated attacks on mail-in voting might convince Republican voters in Florida and other states not to vote in November out of fears the election might be compromised. Winning Florida is critical to his re-election bid.Trump

Trump's change of heart also follows a massive increase in requests among Democratic voters in Florida to vote by mail. Democrats have more than 1.9 million Floridians registered to vote by mail compared to the Republicans’ 1.3 million, according to Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee.

In 2016, both political parties had roughly 1.3 million signed up before the general election. The disparity is worrying the GOP, which must contend with a bevy of polls showing Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden ahead of Trump in Florida.

Trump himself has voted by mail in at least three elections -- New York City’s mayoral election in 2017; New York State’s midterm election in 2018, and Florida’s primary election in 2020.

The bipartisan debate over universal write-in voting is heating up as several states push to pass bills amid the COVID-19 crisis. Currently, only Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington offer it in general elections.

US President Donald Trump gave TikTok six weeks to sell its US operations to an American company, adding that the government wanted a financial benefit from the deal US President Donald Trump gave TikTok six weeks to sell its US operations to an American company, adding that the government wanted a financial benefit from the deal Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski