Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and other congressional leaders are wasting no time throwing cold water on President Donald Trump's suggestion that the November election could be delayed. The reaction comes as many election analysts rapidly shot down the idea.
Alleging the upcoming election could be the most "inaccurate and fraudulent" in history, the president went on to tweet Thursday: "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
The recommendation provoked immediate backlash online and in the halls of Congress, with McConnell, along with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Majority Whip John Thune, dismissing the notion.
"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 told WNKY. "We'll find a way to do that again this November 3rd."
Election law experts also weighed in. The University of Kentucky's Joshua Douglas said, on this matter, the U.S. Constitution is crystal clear.
"President Trump's first term ends — 100 percent — at noon on January 20, 2021," he told WUKY. "There is nothing short of a Constitutional Amendment that could change that."
Worries creep in, however, when the subject turns to the president's repeated bashing of mail-in voting as a valid method for casting ballots.
"I'm more concerned about his constant tweeting that vote-by-mail is fraudulent, which we know for a fact is not true, and yet he continues to sow doubt in people's minds," Douglas says.
While the president is talking delays now, a suggestion the professor and author labels "absurd and preposterous," Democrats and other critics fear the ultimate goal is to lay the groundwork for a challenge to the November election results.
Were the president to pursue such a course, it could begin with lawsuits claiming fraud in one or more states with close results, or with an election challenge in Congress. While the latter is a constitutional mechanism to resolve a disputed election, Douglas says it would likely be rife with legal ambiguities.
"The federal Electoral Count Act is not the clearest law by any means, so if this plays out in the worst case scenario of a post-election dispute, you're going to see a lot of activity and conversation about what Congress should do and how Congress should resolve that election," he says.