President Donald Trump’s recent threats to withhold federal funding from two states over plans to make absentee ballots available to all voters has captured the public ire of an NBA legend.
Bill Russell tweeted a direct message to Trump on Thursday sardonically reminding the president that the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, saying he doesn’t want to risk his life to vote.
Hello @realDonaldTrump there is a good reason for #VoteByMail not sure if you have heard of #coronavirus #COVIDー19 or better known as a #pandemic bit I don’t want to risk my life to #vote ! @MSNBC @CNN— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) May 21, 2020
As MassLive points out, Russell has been highly critical of Trump in the past. The Celtics great tweeted a direct repudiation of the president’s infamous “s---hole countries” remark in 2018 and once called criticism from Trump “the biggest compliment you can get.”
More recently, Russell had mocked Trump’s declaration that he was “number one on Facebook” amid a pandemic as “selfish.”
Huh? I guess I had it all wrong all these yrs. @realDonaldTrump is setting the record straight. I always thought not only are all Americans a team but all humans are! We need to come together globally to fight against this killer! Don’t be selfish #StayHome @MSNBC @CNN @FoxNews https://t.co/03QiTco39T pic.twitter.com/tAmAvZA2lF— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) April 2, 2020
Of course, Russell is just one of the critics of Trump’s campaign against the prospect of mail-in ballots, which the president has attempted to justify with unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.
Such mail-in ballots are an attempt to minimize the risk of worsening the coronavirus pandemic with in-person elections. One election in Wisconsin last month notoriously proceeded as planned after the state Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ attempt to postpone in-person voting. The result: Dozens of new coronavirus cases among voters and poll workers.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted explicit threats to withhold funding from Michigan and Nevada — notably two swing states — if they send out mail-in ballots to voters, even tagging the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Treasury.
Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
State of Nevada “thinks” that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S. They can’t! If they do, “I think” I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections. @RussVought45 @USTreasury— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
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