McCarthy told Trump trashing mail-in voting will hurt Republicans: report

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Five things to know about the August jobs report GOP leader says he doesn’t want Chamber’s endorsement: ‘They have sold out’ Record deficit complicates GOP path to coronavirus relief MORE (R-Calif.) reportedly said he told President TrumpDonald John TrumpCohen claims in new book that Trump is ‘guilty of the same crimes’ as him ‘Princess Bride’ cast to reunite for Wisconsin Democrats fundraiser Bernie Sanders warns that Trump may not concede the election MORE that criticism of mail-in voting will hurt Republicans in the upcoming election. 

“I tried to show him … you know who is most afraid of COVID? Seniors. And if they’re not going to go vote, period, we’re screwed,” McCarthy told an Axios reporter, according to a report published Sunday. 

The top House Republican told the outlet that he spent hours warning the president that his preoccupation with slamming mail-in voting will not only him but also Republicans running for Congress. 

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“We could lose based on that,” McCarthy told Axios. 

McCarthy also encouraged Republicans to vote by any means necessary as he campaigned for candidates in Oregon and Utah last week, Axios reported. 

McCarthy said he agrees with Trump that there’s a difference between absentee and mail-in voting and said the latter is particularly problematic in states without the infrastructure to handle such ballots on a massive scale, Axios reported. 

Voting experts do not distinguish between absentee and mail-in voting. 

Last month, Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump maintains US ’rounding the turn’ on coronavirus Trump to award Medal of Honor to Army Ranger on 9/11 Trump encourages North Carolina residents to test system by voting twice MORE submitted their absentee ballots in Florida ahead of the state’s scheduled primaries. 

The president has railed against mail-in voting, making unsubstantiated claims that it leads to widespread voter fraud. Democrats have largely pushed for expanded mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic to limit crowds at in-person voting locations on Election Day.