WASHINGTON — The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) on Monday told Joe Biden it was ready to begin the formal presidential transition process for him.
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy told Biden in a letter that she was prepared to make “post-election resources and services available” for Biden’s transition to the White House, stressing that despite “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results,” she made her decision “independently, based on the law and available facts.” Also on Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was recommending that the GSA “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols,” and that he had directed his team to facilitate Biden’s transition, although he still didn’t concede defeat.
“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” Trump said, referring to a series of legal actions his campaign launched in multiple states aimed at overturning the election results. He added, however, that to allow the transition to start was “in the best interest of our Country.”
Ever since Biden was projected by U.S. media to have won the presidency, Murphy has faced pressure to ascertain that Biden is the president-elect, a step that effectively marks the recognition by the current administration that a new president is elected and a transition will begin. Murphy said in the letter that she was “coerced” into making the “determination prematurely,” and that the federal law stipulating the ascertainment “provides no procedures or standards for this process.” While ascertaining that Biden is the “apparent president-elect,” the administrator emphasized that the “actual winner of the presidential election will be determined by the electoral process detailed in the Constitution.”
Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and one of the Democrats who previously demanded that Murphy brief the Congress about the delay, said in a statement that she was “thankful for” the administrator’s latest move. “But make no mistake — it is no cause for celebration that members of the Trump Administration refused to follow the law for weeks while coronavirus cases spiked to catastrophic levels,” she said. Also on Monday, the state of Michigan, a battleground state where the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the election results, certified Biden’s victory.
The Trump team is also continuing its effort to prevent the all-but-certain certification in Pennsylvania for Biden, appealing a lawsuit rejected on Saturday by a federal judge in the state.
In Georgia, where election officials have certified the results for Biden after concluding a hand recount of the ballots, the Trump team has requested yet another recount, as Biden’s lead is only about 0.25 percent. Under state law, a candidate can request a recount when the margin is less than 0.5 percent. U.S. media have projected that Biden has won 306 Electoral College votes, surpassing the 270-vote threshold for clinching the White House.