President Donald Trump’s administration signaled to President-elect Joe Biden that it was ready to begin the transition of power late Monday, according to a letter from General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. However, Trump said he himself “will never concede.”
Murphy, a Trump political appointee, had refused to open up millions in government funding, data, and personnel to Biden’s incoming administration as Trump’s efforts to reverse the results of the election continued.
In her letter, she declared Biden the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, finally allowing the formal transition process to begin.
“Because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, I am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you,” she wrote.
She denied any “fear or favoritism” in her decision.
“I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work for the White House or the GSA—with regards to the subject or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination,” she said.
In a statement, Biden-Harris Transition Executive Director Yohannes Abraham wrote, “Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation... This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies.” He noted that the administration’s first priorities would be tamping down the coronavirus pandemic and righting the U.S. economy.
Murphy did say she received “thousands of threats” against herself, her family, her staff, and even her pets, demanding she “make my determination prematurely.”
Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wrote in a memo to White House staff instructing them to “comply with all actions needed to ensure the smooth transfer of power.”
Trump thanked Murphy for her service on Twitter: “I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country... 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.”
He, too, lamented the harassment and abuse she had received.
Trump indicated, however, that he himself would not concede: “Our case STRONGLY continues. We will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”
Late Monday night, he added, “What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history? We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & ‘Dominion.’”
Noting the messiness and fierce debate of the aftermath of the election, Murphy recommended that Congress amend the laws governing her office to be more clear.
“I strongly believe that the statute requires the GSA Administrator to ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-elect. Unfortunately, the statute provides no procedures or standards for this process, so I look to precedent from prior elections involving legal challenges or incomplete counts... I strongly encourage Congress to consider amendments to the Act,” she wrote.