Voters should be prepared for the possibility of having to wait several weeks to find out who wins this year’s presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told “Special Report” Thursday.
“It could happen,” McConnell told host Bret Baier. “I mean, there’s no question that how elections are conducted or decided in each of our states — and some states have adopted an approach to this with regard to the counting of mail-in ballots– that could delay the results. It could happen.”
However, McConnell added, “there’s nothing the federal government can do about that. If a given state decides to conduct an election a certain way, that’s the way it will be conducted.”
The Constitution makes Congress the ultimate arbiter of which candidate wins each state. Congress must approve certificates of election from all 50 states. But with a polarized electorate, a close presidential race, an ongoing pandemic and voting by mail, McConnell and other lawmakers are bracing for tough days ahead.
“We think this will be settled well before the end of the year no matter, you know, how many states may end up having short-term election disputes,” McConnell told Baier. “We saw it in 2000 go on for five weeks, but I think it will settle well in advance of the time that the new president and a new Congress need to be sworn in.”
When asked for comment on Tuesday’s first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, McConnell quipped, “Well, it wasn’t Lincoln-Douglas, I can tell you that.”
“I hope both the candidates will approach the next debate in a little more respectful way,” the majority leader added. “It would be a good idea, I think, to let each of the candidates finish their answers. But look, they’re are the candidates. They get to decide how to engage with each other. And we’ve got two more to go. And I’m hoping they’ll be a little better for the American people viewing.”
Addressing Trump’s onstage comment about the right-wing men’s group the Proud Boys, McConnell said there is “no place” for White supremacy in America.
“I and others, all of my colleagues condemn it in the strongest possible terms …,” he said. “We all would be better off immediately condemning white supremacy wherever we hear references to it.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.