Joe Biden can officially begin the presidential transition process now that Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, has acknowledged his election victory. Murphy made the announcement in an official letter she sent to the Biden camp Monday afternoon, more than two weeks after the results were called.
It’s about time!!
In the letter, which was obtained by CNN, Murphy maintained that the delay had nothing to do with the president’s refusal to concede.
“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts,” Murphy wrote. “I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination.”
That sounds nice, but it’s improbable. Earlier this month when attention first turned to Murphy, a little-known Trump-appointed administrator, some senior administration officials told the Washington Post that no agency head would want to signal the start of a presidential transition without the current president conceding the election first. And there was little reason for Murphy to dawdle: By noon ET on Nov. 7, nearly every major outlet had called the race for Biden; investigations found zero evidence of voter fraud; and election officials made it clear that Trump’s efforts to contest the results and forge a path to victory were doomed from the start.
For these reasons, Biden moved forward with the transition the best he could. But by withholding her formal approval, Murphy blocked Biden’s team from millions of dollars in federal funding, as well as access to government officials, intelligence briefings, classified information, and an expanded security detail. And perhaps most urgently, Murphy’s stalling has stymied Biden’s plans to begin addressing the pandemic as soon as he takes office.
As you can imagine, Trump is completely undeterred by Murphy’s decision to allow the transition to proceed, and intends to push ahead with his unhinged legal battle to reverse the results of the now long-settled election. “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail!” he tweeted Monday evening. “Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”
Completely bonkers as usual, but luckily this process is (finally!!) moving forward with or without Trump.