US President-elect Joe Biden’s top allies in Congress have accused Republicans of dragging their feet in acknowledging Biden’s victory, urging them to “accept reality” and help them tackle the coronavirus crisis.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer- both of whom witnessed disappointing outcomes in House and Senate races last week- called on Republicans to admit that the presidential election was won by Biden and immediately return to negotiations on COVID relief.
“It’s most unfortunate that the Republicans have decided that they will not respect the will of the people,” Pelosi told reporters. “It’s like the house is burning down, and they just refuse to throw water on it.”
She accused President Trump and Republicans of “ignoring” the crisis and needlessly disputing the election.
“They’re engaged in an absurd circus right now refusing to accept reality,” she said, making it “even harder” to face the crisis.
Schumer agreed: “Instead of working to pull the country back together so that we can fight our common enemy, Republicans in congress are spreading conspiracy theories, denying reality, poisoning the well of our democracy. Republicans should stop their shenanigans about an election President Trump has already lost.”
Pelosi and Schumer spoke with Biden on Thursday by phone and the three “discussed the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame duck session on a bipartisan basis” to pass more coronavirus relief, a statement from Biden’s transition team said.
Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy of California accused Pelosi of playing politics with the virus and deliberately dragging out pre-election talks on new relief to deny President Trump a victory that could have helped him in the election.
The continued battling comes as caseloads are spiking across the country in a third wave of the pandemic that is threatening a dangerous winter, despite advances in vaccine development and treatments to fight it the disease.