House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rejected an idea floated by Trump to delay the November presidential election, saying Thursday that it should go forward as planned.
“Never in the history of the federal elections have we ever not held an election and we should go forward with our election,” McCarthy told reporters when asked about the proposition of a delay during a press conference.
The remarks follow a Thursday morning tweet by the President that suggested delaying the election due to the baseless assertion that widespread mail-in voting will lead to a “fraudulent” election.
But Trump does not have the authority to move an election and bide more time to win favor from his diminishing base.
Federal law sets Election Day as “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November.” If Trump or any of his GOP allies in the Senate wanted to change this law, they would need to go through the Democratic House.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already made clear in a statement confirmed by his communications director, David Popp, that November’s election date is set in stone. In an interview with WNKYTV, a local NBC and CBS affiliate in Kentucky scheduled to air in full Thursday evening, the GOP senator will cite past crises that have taken place during an election.
CNN correspondent Manu Raju tweeted after Trump’s suggestion Thursday that even close Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had said when asked about a potential delay: “I don’t think that’s a particularly good idea.”
Before Trump’s tweet on Thursday, Democrats had expressed growing concern that the President will try to delay the election or deem its results illegitimate.
Trump has made a routine of railing against mail-in voting, making claims that bristle against the wisdom of experts, by saying that ballots will be reprinted, robbed from mailboxes and cause widespread fraud.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Democratic leaders asked Attorney General William Barr whether he believed that claims of election fraud were legitimate. Barr, who has repeatedly sided with the President and politicized the Justice Department to favor Trump and many of his allies, said that that while he doesn’t not advocate for “wholesale” mail-in voting he has “no reason to think” that the upcoming election will be “rigged.”