The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, accused Republicans of a “political performance” and “temper tantrum” fueled by their collective “fear” of Donald Trump that is leading them to join him in not acknowledging he appears to have lost the election.
“Stop denying reality,” Mr Schumer told reporters on Thursday. “The election is not in doubt. This is nothing more than a Republican temper tantrum, nothing more than a pathetic political performance for an audience of one: Donald John Trump.”
President-elect Joe Biden leads Mr Trump by over 5m votes nationally, and by tens of thousands each in several swing states. He has enough votes to secure 290 electoral votes, 20 more than the amount needed to become the 46th commander in chief.
He and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, notably, rejected calls from inside the House and Senate Democratic caucuses to accept the Trump White House’s proposed coronavirus relief bill – which is much smaller than the package of up to $3trn of items they have pushed for most of the year.
Mr Schumer slammed what he called Republicans’ “emaciated bill,” arguing Democratic-crafted provisions in a House-passed Covid measure are needed more than ever because the virus is spreading quickly in almost every state.
The two Democratic leaders said they believe there is a chance of a bill in the lame duck session, which will end in late-December before the new Congress is seated early next year. But talks do not appear to have progressed since Election Day or since the Associated Press and other US news outlets declared Mr Biden the president-elect on Saturday.
As the president and his campaign team continue filing lawsuits in swing states they say he might considerably close the vote margin or take the lead – both disputed even by some Republicans – the Democratic House leader accused his party of being “engaged in an absurd circus right now, refusing to accept reality.”
But GOP members and leaders contend the president is “within his rights,” as some have put it, to ensure only legal ballots were counted. Few have called Mr Biden the president-elected, and virtually none have reached out to the former Delaware Democratic senator.
The two Democrats described the GOP’s election skepticism as preventing lawmakers from striking a deal with the Trump Administration to provide millions of Americans with virus relief.
“Were in the same place, even more so with the pandemic,” Ms Pelosi said of her desire for a bigger bill. “Look at these numbers. Look at these predictions from the scientific community.”
But House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who addressed reporters later Thursday morning, took umbrage with Ms Pelosi and other Democrats saying Mr Biden has a mandate. If he won, the minority leader said, he received a “mandate against socialism,” presumably because the president received at least 72m votes.