Washington (dpa) - Top Democrats in the US Congress on Thursday called on Republicans to accept President Donald Trump's election defeat and to focus instead on addressing the surging coronavirus pandemic.
"They're engaged in an absurd circus right now, refusing to accept reality," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told a joint press conference with Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.
"Stop the circus and get to work on what really matters to the American people: their health and their economic security," she said.
Schumer urged Republicans to "stop their shenanigans."
"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," he said.
Schumer said Republicans should shift their attention towards the worsening pandemic, which has seen new coronavirus cases hit record highs in recent days, while hospitalizations and deaths are also rising.
Both Schumer and Pelosi urged Republicans to reboot negotiations to craft another coronavirus stimulus package to boost the battered economy.
Key benefits of the nearly 3 trillion dollars in stimulus passed by Congress earlier this year have largely expired and months-long talks on a new round of relief have been mired in a partisan divide.
In a sign of continuing disagreement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected Schumer and Pelosi's approach, pushing instead for more narrow legislation, in comments to journalists reported by CNBC.
McConnell and other Senate Republicans have refused to acknowledge Democrat Joe Biden as president-elect since he was declared the winner of the November 3 election.
Trump has refused to concede victory and has been claiming the national election was rigged against him.
The Republican president's team is pressing ahead with a series of legal challenges, though his lawyers have lost the major lawsuits they have filed so far and have been unable to produce evidence of major fraud.
Schumer stressed that the election "wasn't close," that "President Trump lost," and that Trump's "frivolous lawsuits have less than a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding."
In an apparent rebuttal of Trump's claims, a group of election security officials, including the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said last week's election was "the most secure in American history."
"There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," the statement read.
Biden, meanwhile, has begun to move ahead with his transition, despite no cooperation from the Trump administration, which seems to be aiming to cling to power.
On Wednesday, Biden named top aide Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar in the Obama administration, as White House chief of staff once he takes office in January. The pick appears aimed to highlight Biden's priority on getting the coronavirus pandemic under control.
Trump has not addressed the surging coronavirus outbreak, instead taking to Twitter to complain about the election.
An array of world leaders have telephoned to congratulate Biden. On Thursday, the president-elect spoke to Pope Francis, who extended blessings and congratulations, Biden's transition team said. The Democrat expressed a desire to work with the pope on issues including poverty, climate change and immigration.