US federal agency announces plans to begin presidential transition process following Trump election loss

Thursday, November 26, 2020

On Monday, United States General Services Administration administrator Emily W. Murphy sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden and his team, giving them permission to access what she described as post-election resources for a presidential transition process following the 2020 US Presidential Election on November 3, which multiple national news outlets have projected former US Vice President Joe Biden won against incumbent US President Donald Trump.

GSA Administrator Emily W. Murphy's letter to Joe Biden
Trump recommending GSA Administrator Emily W. Murphy release transition support to Joe Biden
File photo of Emily Webster Murphy, US Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA)
Image: General Services Administration.

Murphy claimed she made this decision without influence from the White House, insisting she was "never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official". However, she claimed she and her family had received violent threats due to her involvement in the process of allowing the incoming president elect access to federal documents.

President Trump, who appointed Murphy to her position himself in 2017, responded to her letter on Twitter, calling for the beginning of a presidential transition process "in the best interests of the country". The president's response is a drastic departure in tone from his previous rhetoric and demeanor regarding the issue, in which he asserted he had won the election despite several key swing states certifying their results in favor of Biden.

The president did not concede or admit defeat in the election in his statement, however, and vowed to keep fighting "the good fight" with court cases challenging the election results in swing states.

To date, the president's claims of widespread voter fraud have not gained any momentum in the courts. Two days prior to Michigan's final certification of its election results, a federal judge dismissed a Trump lawsuit attempting to prevent the state of Pennsylvania from certifying their results.

Trump and his legal team have come under scrutiny from both sides of the aisle in response to their claims of election fraud. Biden and others in the Democratic Party warned the delayed transition process could potentially be a threat to national security, in withholding resources from Biden and his team. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer commented the president's tweets Monday are likely as near as the US public will ever have to an official concession from the president.

Other Republicans have broken with Trump and have urged him to move forward with the presidential transition, such as former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who denounced the Trump legal team's claims as a "national embarrassment". Additionally, businessman and Trump loyalist Stephen Schwarzman said the president should accept the election outcome and "move on". Over 100 Republican national security experts signed an open letter urging Republican officials to push the president to concede the election.

Traditionally, the General Services Administration has acted once the national media has called the presidential race for a candidate. Joe Biden is projected to win the electoral college and was also victorious in the popular vote, winning by over six million votes. He was projected on November 7 to have won, and would be sworn into office on January 20.