Members of Donald Trump’s political party rebuked the possibility of a potential election delay after the US leader floated the idea in a tweet.
Citing unfounded concerns about voting by post, Trump asked whether the upcoming November presidential election should be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The US president has no power under US law to change federal elections. Congress has the authority to do so but the election must occur before January when the president’s term ends.
But members of the president’s own party said the election would still occur, as mandated by law.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, confirmed to a local TV station that the date of November 3 was set in stone.
“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 November 3rd,” McConnell said.
“We’ll cope with whatever the situation is and have the election on November 3rd as already scheduled,” he added.
New Hampshire’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu tweeted: “Make no mistake: the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd. End of story. Our voting system in NH is secure, safe, and reliable. We have done it right 100% of the time for 100 years – this year will be no different.”
It was a rare rebuke of the US president by members of his own party.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, another high ranking Republican, said it did not matter what one individual said.
“We still are a country based on the rule of law, and we want to follow the law,” Grassley said, according to the Associated Press.
Senator John Barrasso, a high ranking Republican from Wyoming, told Fox Business News that Congress would not delay the election.
“We’re going to have the election completed and voting completed by election day. It’s going to take a while to get all the votes counted I am certain,” he said.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Trump said he did not want to change the election but stated that he remained concerned about voter fraud if people vote by post.
“I don’t want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don’t want to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing, and the election doesn’t mean anything,” he said, according to AP.
At least 46 US states allow some form of voting by post but there has been no evidence of voter fraud. Five states have systems with all postal ballots.