Republicans lawmakers roundly shot down President Donald Trump’s dubious suggestion to “delay the election” on Thursday.
Trump suggested delaying the election on Twitter after repeating his long-debunked conspiracy theory that mail voting is linked to increased fraud.
In truth, there have been more than 250 million ballots cast by mail in the US in the last two decades while there have been only 143 prosecutions related to mail ballot fraud, a rate of just 0.00006%.
Trump cannot delay the election himself. The Constitution delegates that power to Congress, which set the date of the election as the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November back in the 1800s.
Lawmakers said they had no interest in entertaining Trump’s suggestion.
GOP rejects delay:
"Never in the history of the country, 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,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"I do not support delaying the November election," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally.
"Never in the history of federal elections have we ever not held an election and we should go forward with our election,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Sen. John Cornyn suggested Trump was just tweeting “so all you guys in the press, your heads will explode.”
"I don't know what his motivation is,” he added. “He can't do it."
Trump claims mail voting leads to other problems:
Pressed on his claim at a briefing on Thursday, Trump dropped the bogus voter fraud claim and suggested mail voting is rife with other problems and it could take “years” to determine a winner due to litigation.
“I don’t want to see an election — you know, so many years, I’ve been watching elections. And they say the ‘projected winner’ or the ‘winner of the election’ — I don’t want to see that take place in a week after November 3rd or a month or, frankly, with litigation and everything else that can happen, years. Years. Or you never even know who won the election,” Trump said.
Experts rejected Trump’s claim that it would take years to determine a winner.
“Any state should be able to count votes-by-mail and verify it within a month unless something derails the system,” Ohio State law professor Edward Foley told The Hill.
“We should get ready for the fact that we may not know who won on Election Night,” added Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt. “But there’s a process for counting, and a process for fighting over the count, and the Constitution says that all of that is over, full stop, well before noon on January 20.”