Republicans rebuff Trump's suggestion to delay 2020 election

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FILE - In this May 15, 2019 file photo, Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, right, and Majority Leader Jim Steineke, left, speak in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin's Republican Assembly leaders are breaking with President Donald Trump over possibly delaying the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election. Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Steineke tweeted Thursday, July 30, 2020, that they oppose delaying the election, a date that is enshrined in federal law and would require an act of Congress to change, including agreement from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer File)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s suggestion of postponing the November election drew condemnation from Republican officials in the states and on Capitol Hill as they tried to bat away questions their own party leader had raised about the legitimacy of that upcoming vote.

Trump on Thursday tweeted unsubstantiated allegations that the election would be “inaccurate and fraudulent” because of the widespread use of mail-in voting. It's a claim that’s been debunked by election security experts and the five states that already rely exclusively on mail-in ballots. He went on to suggest a delay in the election — something he cannot legally do on his own.

The date of the presidential election — the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every fourth year — is enshrined in federal law. Changing it now would require an act of Congress, including agreement from the Democratic-controlled House.

Top Republicans in Congress quickly rebuffed Trump.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the election date is set in stone. The House GOP leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, said the election “should go forward” as planned.

In the states, Republican leaders said officials are doing all they can to ensure voting systems are secure and reliable.

“Make no mistake: The election will happen in New Hampshire on Nov. 3. End of story,” said Gov. Chris Sununu, R-N.H. Like officials in other states, he said his own state's voting system is “secure, safe and reliable.”