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

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJuan Williams: Trump is killing American democracy Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Cheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member MORE (R-Calif.) reportedly said he told President TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled 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 TrumpMcCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral GOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power White House orders release of Trump records to Jan. 6 committee 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.