Trump tells GSA that Biden transition can begin


The General Services Administration (GSA) has informed President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE and his team that the Trump administration is ready to begin the transition process.

GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, sent a letter to Biden on Monday saying that he would have access to federal resources and services to facilitate a presidential transition, according to a copy obtained by The Hill.

Trump in two tweets wrote that he had asked Murphy to begin the transition, though he did not concede his loss to Biden and said he would keep fighting.

The tweet marked a shift for Trump, who has refused to acknowledge the results of the election since Biden was first projected as the winner more than two weeks ago. 

The move comes roughly three weeks after the presidential election, amid mounting pressure on Murphy to ascertain Biden as the winner so that millions of dollars in federal resources would be freed up in order to help with the transition process. 

“As the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, I have the ability under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended, to make certain post-election resources and services available to assist in the event of a presidential transition,” Murphy wrote. 

“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 and services available to you,” she added. 

Murphy wrote that she came to the decision independently and that she was “never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official” in the timing or substance of her decision. She noted that she received threats to her safety and that of her family.

The Biden transition team welcomed the formal ascertainment, calling it a “needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”

“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,” Biden transition official Yohannes Abraham said in a statement.

Biden had previously downplayed the standoff over a formal ascertainment, saying he felt it was more embarrassing for the nation than it was a hindrance to his ability to form a government. In lieu of meeting with government officials, Biden has held virtual meetings with subject matter experts on the pandemic and national security.

The president had appeared supportive of Murphy as she hesitated to begin the transition process. “Great job Emily!” Trump tweeted on Nov. 15, sharing an unrelated tweet Murphy had posted 10 days earlier.

Since Biden was projected the winner of the presidential election on Nov. 7, Trump has tried unsuccessfully to challenge the results in court while claiming without evidence that there was widespread fraud in the election. The lawsuits have fizzled, and a growing number of Republicans have recognized Biden as the president-elect. 

“Since it seems apparent that Joe Biden will be the president-elect, my hope is that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE will take pride in his considerable accomplishments, put the country first and have a prompt and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed,” Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDemocrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump Trump nominee's long road to Fed may be dead end GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics MORE (R-Tenn.) said in a statement earlier Monday. “When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do.”

Murphy’s letter came after Michigan certified its election results showing Biden as the winner in the key swing state; Georgia similarly certified its results last week. 

Prior to Murphy’s letter, the GSA had offered to brief the heads of key House committees on Nov. 30 about the transition process, a move that garnered pushback from Democrats who demanded that the briefing take place this week instead. 

Murphy’s letter was sent the same day the Democratic leaders of multiple key House and Senate committees slammed the GSA administrator for not moving forward with certifying Biden’s win, accusing her of undermining national security by not doing so.

Separate letters were sent to Murphy by Democrats including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMedia and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Top cybersecurity official ousted by Trump Devin Nunes fends off Democratic opponent in California MORE (D-Calif.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonLeadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns Trump's cyber firing stirs outrage Heads roll as Trump launches post-election purge MORE (D-Miss.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelDozens of progressive groups endorse Joaquin Castro for Foreign Affairs chair Castro pledges to term limit himself if elected Foreign Affairs chair Former VOA producer sues US global media agency over termination MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLeadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns IRS races to get remaining stimulus checks to low-income households Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software MORE (D-Va.). 

“There is no plausible reason for you to continue to delay in making this ascertainment,” Warner wrote to Murphy. “Further delay will damage our national security, and I urge you to proceed with this common sense step immediately.”