Sen. John Cornyn provided cover for Trump on Thursday after the president tweeted about delaying the 2020 general election due to concerns about widespread voter fraud.
(In reality, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and it’s been a popular method of voting prior to the pandemic, with a quarter of all votes cast in 2016 done so by mail).
It was a dangerous suggestion that was swiftly rebuked by Democrats and a commissioner with the U.S. Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub, who said Congress, not the president, has the power to move elections.
Even some Republicans and loyal Trump allies pushed back at the president’s idea, including Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Not Cornyn. Instead, he immediately did damage control for the president and said Trump’s tweet about delaying the election was just a joke that would send the press into a frenzy.
The idea that only the press would be concerned about delaying an election is a joke itself, but that’s beside the point: it’s not the first time Cornyn has provided cover for Trump as he dips his toes into authoritarianism.
When President Trump used Park Police and National Guard troops to tear gas peaceful protestors to clear room for a photo-op last month, Coryn jumped to his defense and said the move was “a necessary security measure.”
When Trump landed in hot water for calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” at a time when racism and hate crimes against Asian Americans were increasing, Cornyn did his best to whitewash Trump’s nationalist and xenophobic language by doubling down on it himself with fake medical science and by blaming the “cultural habits” of Chinese people for coronavirus.
When Trump nearly dragged the U.S. into yet another war after assassinating an Iranian major general without consulting Congress, Cornyn said the president was within his authority.
And there is also Cornyn’s behavior throughout the entire congressional investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election, beginning with his approval of Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey and ending with his vote to acquit the president.
It’s no surprise his antics in the Senate under Trump have earned him the label of “spineless bootlicker” by his Democratic opponent, MJ Hegar.
That type of brash talk might play well with voters in Texas, who seem more than aware of Cornyn’s dog-like loyalty to Trump, as both are facing poll numbers that make them vulnerable in Texas.
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org