The Trump administration has approved the start of the process for the formal transition of power to president-elect Joe Biden. The administrator of General Services Administration (GSA), Emily Murphy, sent a letter to Biden on Monday afternoon, informing him that the administration is ready to begin the formal transition.
In the letter obtained by CNN, Murphy said the delay in the formal transition process has been as a result of legal actions following the result of the election.
“As the administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, I have the ability under the under the presidential Transition Act 1963, as amended, to make certain post-election resources and services available to assist in the event of a presidential transition.
“I take this role seriously and because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources available to you,” she said.
The letter has put an end to the Trump administration’s denial of the election result, giving Biden access to the fund he needs to prepare for his journey to the White House.
This development means the GSA will make $6,300,000 available to Biden to execute the transition, and additional $1,000,000 to provide appointee orientation sessions and a transition directory.
Following Trump’s inability to acknowledge Biden as the winner two weeks after the presidential election, which thus resulted in GSA’s withholding of the transition fund, Biden began raising funds alternatively. Last week, Biden’s transition team sent a grassroots fundraising plea to its supporters asking for donations to reach more than the targeted $10 million for transition.
The GSA’s letter also means the Biden team will now have access to federal agencies and vital information that the Trump administration has been withholding. Biden had decried the delay, saying it would hinder the fight against coronavirus that is currently ravaging the United States.
Yohannes Abraham, executive director of Biden’s transition said the start of the transition was a needed step in tackling many of the problems facing America, especially COVID-19.
“This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies,” she said. “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”
Murphy had been under intense pressure from Biden and democrats to sign off on Biden/Harris victory, but had allowed the matter to drag on for weeks, suggesting allegiance to Trump based on his conspiracy theories.
But in her letter, she said her decision to delay the ascertainment of Biden’ victory has been independent.
“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. 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,” she said.
Trump is yet to make a clear concession, though he thanked Murphy in a tweet for her work, after the letter became public, which affirms he approves the decision of the GSA. However, he said the fight to reclaim his stolen election will continue, and implied that he approves of the GSA’s ascertainment because he doesn’t want Murphy to continue to be harassed.
“I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA,” he said. “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail.”
While restating his determination to pursue legal proceedings against what he has described as “rigged election”, Trump said the GSA must do what has to be done in the interest of the country.
“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 same,” he tweeted.
Trump’s determination to continue the push to overturn the result of the presidential election has been described by his advisers as “a veiled attempt to justify continued fundraising solicitations.” Trump campaign has raised millions of dollars for lawsuits, but has lost more than 95% of all the lawsuits it filed pertaining to the election result.