Thursday 30 July 2020 6:35 pm

Republicans reject Trump's call for US election delay

Leading Republican politicians have rejected US President Donald Trump’s calls to delay the US 2020 presidential election, saying the ballot should be held as planned on 3 November.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told reporters from his home state of Kentucky that the election would go ahead as scheduled.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy also flatly rejected the suggested delay, saying: “Never in the history of the federal elections have we ever not held an election, and we should go forward with our election.”

Read more: Trump calls to delay 2020 US election on ‘inaccurate and fraudulent’ voting systems

McConnell noted the US had always held its elections on time, through wars and economic downturns, and today is no exception.

Trump earlier today called for delaying the US presidential election, which he does not legally have the power to do.

Without evidence, he repeated his claims of mail-in voter fraud and raised the question of a delay, writing on Twitter: “Delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” 

Democrats condemned his words immediately, saying they were an attempt to distract from devastating US economic data and his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Many fellow Republicans made clear they did not agree with the president, either.

Read more: US economy shrinks by record 33 per cent amid coronavirus pandemic

“I think his concerns about mail-in voting are valid, but delaying the election is not the right answer,” senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, told reporters.

“I think we can be able to safely vote in person in November,” said Graham, who also chairs the Judiciary Committee. “I think delaying the election probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”

Notable Republican senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney also all rejected the idea of a US election delay.