U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that the 2020 Presidential election would be the "most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT" election in history and suggested delaying the Nov. 3rd election until "people can properly, securely and safely vote".
Under the U.S. Constitution, only Congress can determine the time and manner of the election. The president has no authority to postpone the election.
The Constitution also states that an outgoing president will leave office on Jan. 20 following the election year - even if an election does not take place.
In a break with some of Trump's previous tweets, many high-ranking Republicans disagreed with the president's tweet.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Georgia NBC station WNKY: “Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. We’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Minority Republican leader in the House of Representatives, also reiterated the presidential election should go forth as scheduled.
"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," McCarthy told CNN.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune also told CNN he disagreed with the president's tweet.
"I think that's probably a statement that gets some press attention, but I doubt it gets any serious traction. I think we've had elections every November since about 1788, and I expect that will be the case again this year," Thune said.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said to CNN: "I wish he hadn't said that, but it's not going to change: We are going to have an election in November and people should have confidence in it."
Texas Senator Ted Cruz also said to CNN: "Election fraud is a serious problem we need to stop it and fight it, but no the election should not be delayed."
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa also told CNN: "All I can say is that, it doesn't matter what one individual in this country says. We still are a country based on the rule of law. And we must follow the law until either the Constitution is changed or until the law is changed."
Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina said to CNN: "I don't think that's a particularly good idea."
"Moving Election Day would seriously jeopardize the legitimacy of the election. Federal, state and local officials need to continue to work hard to ensure that Americans can vote safely, whether by voting early or on November 3."
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois retweeted the President, but added the comment: "Reminder: Election dates are set by Congress. And I will oppose any attempts to delay the #2020Election."
At a later White House press briefing on Thursday, Trump defended his tweet.
A few months ago, Democratic presidential challenger and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had claimed that Trump would attempt to delay the election.
In response, Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, issued a statement saying:
"Those are the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality. President Trump has been clear that the election will happen on November 3rd."
Trump's tweet appeared the same day as the late Congressman John Lewis' funeral. Lewis spent his life fighting for voting rights for African Americans.
Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina tweeted: "The President’s suggestion of delaying the election on the day we lay John Lewis to rest is the most despicable affront to his memory & legacy. Americans will rise up & continue John's fight for unfettered access to the ballot box. Our voices will not be silenced."
Source: CNN and CGTN