“Instead of working to pull the country back together so that we can fight our common enemy, COVID-19, Republicans in Congress are spreading conspiracy theories, denying reality and poisoning the well of our democracy,” Schumer told reporters during a Capitol Hill press conference.
Since Fox News and other media organizations projected that Joe Biden would defeat the incumbent Donald Trump in the presidential election, Trump has refused to concede. Instead, his campaign is pressing forward with a series of legal challenges against the voting results in several battleground states, including Pennsylvania.
“Congressional Republicans don’t have the evidence, they don’t have proof, they don’t have anything. Neither does the president,” he said, adding: “This is nothing more than a temper tantrum by Republicans. Nothing more than a pathetic political performance for an audience of one: Donald Trump.”
So far, the majority of the president’s GOP allies have stood by him in questioning the results of the election.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in Congress, said that Trump is “within his rights” to challenge the outcome, and criticized Democrats for expecting the president to concede.
“President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” McConnell said. “Let’s not have any lectures about how the president should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election.”
Just a handful of Republicans, including Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, have acknowledged Biden as the election victor.
Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to instead work together to pass the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act before the end of the year.
For months, lawmakers have struggled to reach an agreement on another round of emergency relief for families and businesses after passing the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March at the beginning of the pandemic. Although lawmakers have indicated they will try to pass legislation targeted at the economic fallout from the pandemic during the lame-duck session — the period after the election but before newly elected officials are sworn in — it’s unclear whether they’ll be successful.
McConnell, who will be taking the lead on virus negotiations, has indicated that he will put forward a “highly targeted” coronavirus relief deal, similar to the roughly $500 billion GOP bill blocked by Democrats earlier this year. Schumer lambasted it as an “emaciated” bill and called it a “non-starter.”
Pelosi, accusing Republicans of being “engaged in an absurd circus right now refusing to accept reality,” stood by the need for a multitrillion-dollar aid package.
“We’re in the same place, even more so with the pandemic,” she said. “Look at these numbers. Look at these predictions from the scientific community.”