Trump revolt: US President's call to delay election splits Republican party

Donald Trump posted a series of tweets saying that the 2020 US election should be moved from November 3 to prevent mail-in ballots from making the election “INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT”. He then repeated the claims at a brief press conference, saying that the election should be held at a time when people could “properly, securely and safely” vote. But Mr Trump’s calls to postpone the election has put him at odds with top Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, both prominent Republicans, dismissed delaying the election.

Senator McConnell took issue with Mr Trump’s comments because no US presidential election had ever been delayed.

He said to Kentucky media WNKY: “Never in the history of this country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time.

“We will find a way to do that again this November 3.”

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Mr McCarthy, while defending Mr Trump’s comments on voter fraud, also dismissed calls to delay the election.

He said: “Never in the history of federal elections have we ever not held an election and we should go forward with our election.

“No way should we ever not hold our election on the day that we have it.”

New Hampshire’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu added: “Make no mistake: the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd. End of story.”

Mr Trump has no power to change the election date himself, as it is set by Congress.

Currently, while Mr Trump enjoys a Republican majority in the Senate, the Democrats have a majority in the House, making passing a new law on changing the election date unlikely.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, also explained that the date for the election is set by the Constitution.

He added: “Nothing President Trump says, does, or tweets can change that fact.”

Some Republicans have tried to explain away Mr Trump’s election comments.

Hogan Gidley, spokesman for Mr Trump’s reelection campaign, said that the president was just “raising a question”.

Mr Trump also clarified at a press briefing that he does not want a delay to the election, but warned that mail-in ballots would make for a “crooked” election as they could get lost and tampered with.

He added: “This election will be the most rigged election in history if that happens.”