It was the latest example of the president making inflammatory comments on Twitter – and putting Republicans in an embarrassing place to deal with the downturn.
Judge Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina-Trump liaison, told CNN when asked about the president’s call to postpone the election: “I don’t think it’s a particularly good idea.”
Majority Whip Senator John Thune, a member of the Republican leadership, told CNN that there would be an election in November despite the president’s tweet.
“I think this is probably a statement that deserves some press attention, but I doubt it will have any serious impact,” Thune said.
“I think the elections have been held every November since 1788 and I expect that to be the case this year as well,” he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump joined the issue: “Thanks to universal voting by e-mail (not voting against absenteeism, which is good), 2020 will be the most unpleasant and pleasant election in history. It will be very uncomfortable for the USA. can people vote correctly, safely and securely ??? “
The President also has no authority to change the date of the election. Election day is set by the congressional statute, and most experts agree that it cannot be changed without the consent of the congress.
Despite the president’s lack of authority, his message is an introduction – long feared by Democrats – that he and his supporters may refuse to accept the results of the presidential election.
Indigenous Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, responded to the president with a tweet from her own citation to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to “determine the time of voter selection and the day they vote.” they cast their vote. ‘ ”
GOP chief Kevin McCarthy in California rejected Trump’s call to postpone the election, but defended the president’s concerns about voting fraud.
“We have never held an election in the history of federal elections, and we should continue our elections,” McCarthy said. “Under no circumstances should we ever abstain from our elections on the day we have them.”
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, facing a tough battle for re-election in North Carolina, said on Thursday: “The election will take place in November.”
“The elections will take place in November. The votes of those absent in North Carolina are strongly supported, as the president supported.
Ted Cruz said, “Election fraud is a serious problem that we must stop and fight against, but no elections should be postponed.”
GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said of Trump’s tweteet: “I wish he didn’t say that, but it won’t change: we will have elections in November and people should have confidence in it.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa weakened the president’s comments and said: “I can only say that it does not matter what one individual in this country says. We are still a country based on the rule of law. they must abide by the law until the constitution is changed or the law is changed. ‘ “
GOP spokesman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota expressed concern at the twetiet that any delay would undermine the legitimacy of the election.
“Election Day would seriously jeopardize the legitimacy of the election. “Federal, state and local officials must continue to work hard to ensure that Americans can vote safely, whether by voting in early or November 3,” he tweeted.
Not every Hill Republican, including members of the leadership, has yet considered the presidential call or returned to the president.
“I’m not answering any questions,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican who faces voters in a difficult race when asked to tweet from Trump.
This story was updated with another response on Thursday.
Lauren Fox, Ali Zaslav, Michael Warren and Kevin Liptak CNN contributed to this report.