Trump, GSA Tell Biden to Start the Transition

Agency head says she wasn't pressured by White House to delay
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 23, 2020 5:40 PM CST
Trump and GSA Decide to Cooperate With Transition
General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy in 2019.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, announced Monday afternoon that she had determined that President-elect Joe Biden is the "apparent winner" of the Nov. 3 presidential election, clearing the way for federal agencies to cooperate with Biden's team on the transition. In a tweet, Trump endorsed the decision while saying his legal battle to overturn the election results will go on. "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," Trump tweeted. Just before his post went up, the AP reports, Murphy released a letter to Biden saying: "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."

An official said Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden's victory Monday. Pressure from Republicans had been increasing on the administration to cooperate with Biden's team. Retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander released a statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed. “When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for the head of the GSA to release money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Monday that "at some point, the 2020 election must end." The president-elect takes office Jan. 20. (In the meantime, Biden has been building his team.)

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