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Republicans dismiss Trump proposal to delay election

Senate Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country The Memo: Harris moves signal broad role as VP Former US attorney asks for probe of allegations Graham pressured Georgia official MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of the White House, are dismissing President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s suggestion Thursday to delay the November elections because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have concerns about mail-in ballots being the exclusive way to cast votes, but I don’t believe we should delay the elections. I want to reopen the economy in a sound way. I want people to go back to school safely,” Graham, who is up for reelection in November, told reporters Thursday morning.

“In South Carolina, we had a very large primary in June and were able to do it in person. I think we can be able to able to safely vote in person in November,” he said.

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“I think delaying the election probably wouldn’t be a good idea,” he added.

Graham made his comments after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo knocks Turkey in NATO speech: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates US to temporarily withdraw some embassy personnel in Baghdad: report MORE told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that delaying the election would be a “legal determination” left up to the Department of Justice.

“The Department of Justice and others will make that legal determination,” Pompeo said when pressed on the issue by Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Lawmakers release compromise defense bill in defiance of Trump veto threat | Senate voting next week on blocking UAE arms sale | Report faults lack of training, 'chronic fatigue' in military plane crashes Senate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint MORE (D-Va.).

Kaine asserted during the hearing that “a president cannot delay an election, the date of the election is established by Congress — it was established in 1845.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE (R-Ky.) said in an interview with a Kentucky television station Thursday that the Nov. 3 election would be held “on time.”

He pointed out that elections have been held without delay during times of war and other crises throughout American history.

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“Never in the history of the Congress, 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 Nov. 3rd,” McConnell told Max Winitz, the lead evening anchor at WNKY 40.

When Winitz asked whether the Nov. 3rd election date is “set in stone,” McConnell responded “that’s right.”

“We’ll cope with whatever the situation is and have the election on Nov. 3rd as already scheduled,” the GOP leader said.

House Republicans also discounted Trump's tweet.

“We should go forward with our election. No way should we ever not hold an election on the day that we have it," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse GOP uses procedural tool to protest proxy voting The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Tensions rise with Trump, Barr Watch live: McCarthy holds news briefing MORE (R-Calif.) said.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee MORE (Wyo.) also shot down the idea of delaying the Nov. 3 general election.

"We're going to vote on Election Day and in the lead up to Election Day, it will be a secure election,” Barrasso said on Fox Business. “No, we're not going to delay the election."

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate to vote next week on blocking Trump's UAE arms sale GOP urges Trump not to tank defense bill over tech fight Pressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal MORE (R-Fla.) said the date of the election won’t change.

“Since 1845, we’ve had an election on the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 and we’re going to have one again [this year],” he told reporters.

“We’re going to have an election. It’s going to [be] legitimate, it’s going to be credible,” he added. “It’s not going to change. We’re going to have an election in November and people should have confidence in it.”

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Republican senators urge Trump to dodge pardon controversies Grassley suggests moderate Democrats for next Agriculture secretary MORE (R-Iowa), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said the election date is well-established by law.

“The federal law says we’re going to have the election the first Tuesday after the first Monday [in November.] All these things are pretty well set and have been going on for decades,” he said.

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“We’re a country based on the rule of law so nobody’s going to change anything until we change the law,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what one individual in this country says. We are still a country based on the rule of law and we want to follow the law until either the Constitution is changed or until the law’s changed.”

Trump sparked an uproar earlier in the day by suggesting the election date should be postponed to guard against possible fraud through absentee and mail-in balloting — a threat that Democrats and some Republicans such as Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him WaPo reporter says GOP has less incentive to go big on COVID-19 relief COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks MORE (R-Utah) say is minimal or hasn’t been apparent in their home states.

"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA," Trump tweeted. "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent MORE (R-Texas) said Thursday that election fraud is a concern but that the election should not be delayed.

“I think election fraud is a serious problem and we should fight and stop it but no, we should not delay the elections,” he said.

Some Republicans declined to criticize Trump’s idea publicly.

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One Republican senator who requested anonymity said when asked about delaying the elections that Congress must act by passing a law to change the elections date.

“I don’t see that happening,” the lawmaker said. 

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungShelton's Fed nomination on knife's edge amid coronavirus-fueled absences Grassley quarantining after exposure to coronavirus Rick Scott to quarantine after contact with person who tested positive for COVID-19 MORE (Ind.), asked about Trump’s tweet, only said: “I support free, fair and secure elections.”

Kaine, after pressing Pompeo at the Foreign Relations hearing, said he was “stunned” that the secretary of State, a graduate of Harvard Law School, declined to contract Trump’s suggestion of postponing the elections.

Kaine called it “incredibly shocking” that Pompeo, “a trained lawyer whose fourth in line of succession to be president of the United States, would be equivocal about whether a president could move the election or not.”

“We’re all the time trying to tell foreign countries, 'Don’t delay an election, don’t screw around,'” he added.

Updated at 12:31 p.m.