WASHINGTON, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Bipartisan lawmakers pushed back at U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday after he raised the possibility of delaying the election in November.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water on the idea directly.
"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," McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told a local TV station in response.
"We'll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3," he said. "We'll cope with whatever the situation is and have the election on Nov. 3 as already scheduled."
In a tweet on Thursday morning, Trump claimed that 2020, with mail-in voting, will be "the most inaccurate & fraudulent election in history."
"It will be a great embarrassment to the USA," he continued. "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
Legal experts have made clear that Trump has no authority to delay the presidential election as the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to set the date.
"Trump's tweet is wrong and dangerous," said Elie Honig, a cnn legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor.
"The President has no legal power to delay the election. The Constitution gives the power to set election date to *Congress,* which has done so through legislation," Honig tweeted. "Only Congress -- majority votes of both Senate and House -- can change it."
In addition to McConnell, a growing number of Republicans also spoke against Trump's suggestion, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president.
A South Carolina Republican, Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill that he believes it wouldn't be a good idea to postpone the election.
"I have concerns about mail-in ballots being the exclusive way to cast votes but I don't believe we should delay the elections," he said. "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 safely vote in person in November."
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives and the top congressional Democrat, expressed her opposition by tweeting out a section of the Constitution.
"The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day of which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States," the section reads.
On the Senate floor, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of trying to divert attention from the administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has led to nearly 4.5 million infections and more than 151,000 deaths in the United States amid an economic recession.
"President Trump, the election will be in November, on November 3rd, and you will not change it," the New York Democrat said. "Stop diverting attention."
Trump has frequently alleged that mail-in voting would lead to widespread fraud, as most states have expanded access to the practice due to the pandemic. In another tweet on Thursday, Trump called mail-in voting "a catastrophic disaster," while claiming that "there's no accurate count!"
The latest allegation against mail-in voting from Trump came as national polls have showed him falling behind his Democratic opponent, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in the 2020 race.
Biden led Trump 49.9 percent to 41.6 percent as of Thursday afternoon in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls.
Meanwhile, polls in key battleground states, including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Arizona, also showed that Biden is ahead of Trump by at least several points.
Trump, however, has repeatedly called polls showing him trailing Biden "fake" and touted what has been called "silent majority" supporting his presidency and re-election.
In April, Biden warned that Trump would be thinking of delaying the election.
"Mark my words: I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow; come up with some rationale why it can't be held," Biden said.
At that time, the Trump campaign dismissed Biden's accusation as "the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality."