Republicans on Capitol Hill took the rare step of speaking out against Donald Trump on Thursday, after he questioned whether the November election should be delayed over false claims about mail-in ballot fraud.
A handful of GOP lawmakers condemned Trump's tweet, saying the election would not be moved.
"I emphatically do not support moving the 2020 election," Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) tweeted. "Congress has the sole authority to set elections, and I will not support an attempt to delay this year's."
"No, we're not going to delay the election," Sen. John Barrraso (R-WY) told Fox Business. "We're going to have the election completed and voting completed by Election Day. It's going to take awhile to get all the votes counted, I am certain. We need to continue to do this as we do state by state."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) suggested there was no good reason to delay the election, saying he "wish[ed]" Trump "hadn't said that.
Many Republicans voiced opposition the delaying the election, but refused to condemn Trump's false attacks on mail-in ballots — a safe and effective form of voting during a pandemic.
"I don't think that's a particularly good idea," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CNN's Manu Raju, refusing to comment any further.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) stated that the election wouldn't be moved, but also refused to say whether it was "appropriate" for Trump to raise the idea, according to CNN.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Kentucky ABC/CBS News affiliate WNKY on Thursday morning that the election this November was already "set in stone," according to the outlet, citing past elections that had been held during times of crisis.
Some Republicans, many of whom are facing their own tough reelection battles, simply dodged questions about Trump's tweet.
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, for instance, whose race has shifted and is now rated a toss-up by multiple political handicapping websites, declined to comment to CNN about Trump's idea to move the election.
Ultimately, Trump cannot move an election unilaterally.
"Election Day is set by act of Congress and only Congress can change the date," Marc Elias, an election lawyer and expert on voting rights, said in a statement. "Even if Congress moved the date, Trump's term expires on Jan. 20, 2021 — and that cannot be moved except by a new constitutional amendment."
Democrats, who control the House, have said they will not be moving the date.
"Only Congress can change the date of our elections, and under no circumstances will we consider doing so to accommodate the President's inept and haphazard response to the coronavirus pandemic," Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House Administration Committee, which is tasked with coming up with laws regarding elections, said in a statement.
The Trump campaign, for its part, claimed Thursday that Trump was "just raising a question about the chaos Democrats have created with their insistence on all mail-in voting."
Back in April, when now-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden raised fears that Trump would try to move the election if it looked like he would lose, the Trump campaign memorably slammed the assertion.
"Those are the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said at the time. "President Trump has been clear that the election will happen on November 3rd."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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