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Republicans dismiss Trump proposal to delay election

Senate Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief House Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB after Tanden withdrawal MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of the White House, are dismissing President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' 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 PompeoMike PompeoPompeo not ruling out 2024 White House bid Houthis: US sanctions prolonging war in Yemen China plays the Trump card, but Biden is not buying it 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 KaineRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Overnight Defense: Capitol Police may ask National Guard to stay | Biden's Pentagon policy nominee faces criticism | Naval Academy midshipmen moved to hotels Biden called off second military target in Syria minutes before strike: report 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 McConnellRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Klain on Harris breaking tie: 'Every time she votes, we win' How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster 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 McCarthyWatch live: McCarthy holds press briefing Biden vows to work with Congress to 'refine' voting rights bill House passes voting rights and elections reform bill MORE (R-Calif.) said.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoMurkowski votes with Senate panel to advance Haaland nomination Interior Department reverses Trump policy that it says improperly restricted science Biden returns to Obama-era greenhouse gas calculation 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 RubioHillicon Valley: YouTube to restore Trump's account | House-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference | Senators introduce legislation to create international tech partnerships Senators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China DeSantis's rising GOP profile fuels 2024 talk 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks National Sheriffs' Association backs Biden pick for key DOJ role Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers 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 RomneyRon Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits Republicans, please save your party 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 CruzCrenshaw pours cold water on 2024 White House bid: 'Something will emerge' Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington on high alert as QAnon theory marks March 4 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 YoungSenators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China Overnight Defense: DC Guard chief testifies about hampered Capitol attack response | US contractor dies of heart attack after Iraq rocket attack | Pentagon watchdog finds 'inappropriate conduct' by ex-White House doctor Biden reignites war powers fight with Syria strike 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.