It was the latest example of the president making inflammatory comments on Twitter – and putting Republicans in a tough spot to deal with the fallout.
Senate Judiciary President Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and Trump ally, told CNN when asked about the president’s call to delay the election: “I don’t think that’s a very good idea. . ”
Sen. John Thune, a member of the Republican leadership, told CNN there would be an election in November despite the president’s tweet.
“I think it’s probably a statement that gets the attention of the press, but I doubt it will generate serious interest,” Thune said.
“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and civil war, have we never had federal elections on time. We will find a way to do it again on November 3, ”said the majority leader. in an interview with WNKY.
Earlier Thursday, Trump tweeted: “With universal postal voting (not postal voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE and FRAUDULENT election in history. It will be a great embarrassment for the United States. Postpone the election until people can vote properly, safely and securely ??? ”
CNN has previously verified Trump’s claims that there is a distinction between postal voting and postal voting – and experts say these voting systems are essentially the same thing. There is also no widespread fraud in US elections.
The president also does not have the power to change the date of the election. Election day is fixed by the statute of Congress, and most experts agree that it cannot be changed without the approval of Congress.
Despite the president’s lack of authority, his message opens – long feared by Democrats – that he and his supporters could refuse to accept the results of the presidential election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, responded to the President with a tweet citing Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to “determine when voters are chosen and the day where they will vote. ”
GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois echoed the idea, tweeting, “Reminder: Election dates are set by Congress. And I will oppose any attempt to delay the # 2020 election. ”
GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy of California rejected Trump’s call to postpone the election, but defended the president’s concerns over voter fraud.
“Never in the history of federal elections have we ever held an election and we should move forward with our election,” said McCarthy, “We should never hold our elections on the day we have them. ”
Republican Senator Thom Tillis, who faces a tough re-election battle in North Carolina, said Thursday: “The election will be held in November. ”
“The election will take place in November. Postal votes in North Carolina are strongly encouraged, just as the president has encouraged them. The safe side of a postal vote, I hope we get it above all … Because otherwise they ‘will undermine the integrity of the election,’ he said.
Republican Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, said, “Election fraud is a serious problem, we must stop it and fight it, but no elections must not be delayed. ”
GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said of Trump’s tweet: “I wish he hadn’t said that, but that won’t change: we’re going to have an election in November and the people should trust it. ”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa played down the chairman’s comments, saying, “All I can say is it doesn’t matter what a person in this country says. We are still a country based on the rule of law. And we must follow the law until the Constitution is changed or until the law is changed. ”
Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming said in an interview on Fox Business, “No, we are not going to delay the election,” adding, “We are going to have the election over and the vote over on Election Day. ”
South Dakota’s GOP Rep Dusty Johnson raised concerns in a tweet that any delay would damage the election’s legitimacy.
“Shifting election day would seriously compromise the legitimacy of the election. Federal, state and local authorities must continue to work hard to ensure that Americans can vote safely, whether by voting early or on November 3, ”he tweeted.
Not all Hill Republicans, including some in the leadership, did not heed the president’s call or rejected the message.
“I’m not answering any questions,” said Senator Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican also facing voters in a tough race, when asked about Trump’s tweet.
This story was updated with further reaction on Thursday.
CNN’s Lauren Fox, Ali Zaslav and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.