UPDATED 7/31 at 9 p.m. ET: Members of Donald Trump's own party have rejected his proposal to delay the upcoming election.
Hours after the president made the disturbing suggestion, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham reassured the public that the election would take place on Nov. 3, as planned.
"Never in the history of the Congress, through wars, depressions and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3," the Republican lawmakers McConnell told WNKY 40 on Thursday. "We’ll cope with whatever the situation is and have the election on Nov. 3 as already scheduled."
As pointed out by the Huffington Post, some GOP leaders insisted they shared Trump's concerns about election fraud; However, a number of them seemingly dismissed his "delay the election" tweet as a non-serious stunt.
"Election fraud is a serious problem," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNN on Thursday. "We need to stop it and fight it, but no, the election should not be delayed."
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) echoed Cruz in a separate interview with the network, stating: "I think that’s probably a statement that gets some press attention, but I doubt it gets any serious traction. I think we’ve had elections every November since about 1788, and I expect that will be the case again this year."
Some Congressional leaders also noted that a delayed election would delegitimize the results and potentially cause some voters to lose faith in American democracy.
Marco Rubio, one of the most vocal critics of the Trump administration, told Politico that Trump could not simply reschedule an election on his own, as the date is set by law.
"He can suggest whatever he wants. The law is what it is," the Republican senator said. "We’re going to have an election that’s legitimate, it’s going to be credible, it’s going to be the same as we’ve always done it,” Rubio said, according to Politico. “I wish he hadn’t said that. But it’s not going to change,” Rubio continued. “We’re going to have an election in November. And people should have confidence in it."
See the original story below.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump wrote. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
Election Day, which is November 3, is set by law. Federal election dates are designated by Congress, and the Constitution doesn’t make room for a delay unless it's approved by Congress, according to NBC New York. If Trump were to try to amend federal law, he would have to first go through the Democrats in the House of Representatives, and then the Republican-controlled Senate. Many notable politicians were quick to point out that despite his tweet, Trump does not have the authority to delay the election.
While there have been some outlying incidents of voter fraud—most recently in a city council election in New Jersey in May—there isn’t any proof that mail-in voting has led to extensive voter fraud, even in states with all mail-in votes.
Trump’s latest message is just part of his campaign to openly question the accuracy of mail-in voting, though members of his family and administration have voted by mail before. Trump, a resident of Palm Beach County, voted by mail in March for the presidential primary.
Trump’s tweet arrives as widespread polling shows that he has fallen behind in the race, trailing Biden by double digits as the election is less than 100 days away. The newest Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll shows that Biden leads Trump by 11 points, while the latest NBC News / Marist polls have Biden ahead in crucial battleground states like Arizona, North Carolina, and Florida.
The tweet also follows a U.S. government report that says the nation’s gross domestic product plummeted by an unparalleled 32.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020, so it's no wonder Trump tried to steer the national conversation elsewhere.
In May, comments from Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House Advisor, raised Democrats’ concerns that Trump might use the global health crisis as an inroad to delegitimizing the election if he was afraid he’d lose. “I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” Kushner told Time Magazine when asked if the election could be postponed due to the pandemic.
But it appears that Trump and his own administration aren't on the same page. As a response to comments from Biden in April, who said that Trump would “come up with some rationale [as to] why [the election] can’t be held,” Trump declared during a news conference that, “The general election will happen on Nov. 3.”
Biden still believes that Trump is going to mess with the election, particularly after recent Georgia primary elections led to long lines for voters after there were problems with in-person voting and vote by mail requests.
“This president's going to try to steal this election,” Biden said on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in June. Biden added that his “single greatest concern” is access to voting. “This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary,” Biden said.