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Schumer demands Trump 'stop bullying, harassing and lying' about Florida vote count

The Senate minority leader from New York appeared with Sen. Bill Nelson, whose race against Rick Scott is in a recount.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Senator from Florida Bill Nelson deliver statements on the Florida Senate vote count
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. hold a news conference on the Florida Senate vote count at the Capitol on Nov. 13, 2018.Shawn Thew / EPA

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday called on President Donald Trump to "stop bullying, harassing and lying" about the Florida recount efforts.

Schumer spoke at a press conference alongside Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who is battling with GOP Florida Gov. Rick Scott for Nelson's seat in one of two marquee races close enough to have triggered an automatic machine recount in the state.

The New York Democrat joined Nelson in calling for Scott to recuse himself from any position of oversight involving the recount, alleging that both Scott and Trump have engaged in "un-American" conduct in their handling of the recount process and adding that Scott "can't possibly be trusted to be neutral and fair arbiter as votes are tallied."

"President Trump and Gov. Scott seem dead set against counting every vote," Schumer said. "Why? They're worried that if every vote is counted, Bill Nelson will be re-elected as senator from the great state of Florida."

Pointing to Democratic Sens.-elect Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Schumer said the 2018 election results keep looking better for Democrats and added that Florida election officials should be afforded all the time they need to count the votes.

The deadline for Florida counties to complete the machine recount is Thursday. If a race is within a certain threshold after that, it will go to a hand recount that has a Sunday completion date. Lawsuits filed by both campaigns could complicate the deadlines, however.

Both Schumer and Nelson did not take any questions at the press conference.

The recount is overseen by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Republican who was appointed to his position in 2012 by Scott.

In a Monday video posted by his campaign, Nelson called on Scott to remove himself from "any role" in overseeing the recount. Nelson pointed to Scott's suggestion, without evidence, that rampant "voter fraud" may be taking place in the Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties. A spokesman for Scott responded to Nelson's video soon after it was posted, saying in a statement that Democrat is "once again confused."

"The recount is being managed by the individual and independent Supervisors of Elections in all 67 counties," the spokesman added. "If Bill Nelson has an issue with the way the recount is being run, he should take it up with them."

Republicans such as Scott and Trump have insisted Democrats are trying to "steal" the election, with each suggesting that rampant voter fraud could be taking place in the key Democratic-leaning counties.

No evidence of such fraud has been brought forth. State election officials said they have not seen any evidence of fraud.

As of Tuesday morning, Scott holds a lead of about 13,000 votes, while former GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis has an edge of about 33,000 votes over Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the battle for governor that is also going through an automatic recount.

NBC News has rated DeSantis as the apparent winner and the Senate race as too close to call.