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McCarthy told Trump trashing mail-in voting will hurt Republicans: report

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy: 'I would think I already have the votes' to remain as House GOP leader Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 MORE (R-Calif.) reportedly said he told President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE that criticism of mail-in voting will hurt Republicans in the upcoming election. 

"I tried to show him ... you know who is most afraid of COVID? Seniors. And if they're not going to go vote, period, we're screwed," McCarthy told an Axios reporter, according to a report published Sunday. 

The top House Republican told the outlet that he spent hours warning the president that his preoccupation with slamming mail-in voting will not only him but also Republicans running for Congress. 

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“We could lose based on that," McCarthy told Axios. 

McCarthy also encouraged Republicans to vote by any means necessary as he campaigned for candidates in Oregon and Utah last week, Axios reported. 

McCarthy said he agrees with Trump that there’s a difference between absentee and mail-in voting and said the latter is particularly problematic in states without the infrastructure to handle such ballots on a massive scale, Axios reported. 

Voting experts do not distinguish between absentee and mail-in voting. 

Last month, Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump cancels campaign appearance over 'lingering cough' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by the Walton Family Foundation — DOJ to file antitrust suit against Google | Trump calls for Hunter Biden probe before Nov. 3 | Trump, Biden mics will have muting feature at Thursday debate | Pa. ballots to be counted The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base MORE submitted their absentee ballots in Florida ahead of the state’s scheduled primaries. 

The president has railed against mail-in voting, making unsubstantiated claims that it leads to widespread voter fraud. Democrats have largely pushed for expanded mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic to limit crowds at in-person voting locations on Election Day.