Trump administration greenlights Biden's presidential transition

By Tony Bertuca / November 23, 2020 at 7:52 PM

Activities may now commence to begin transitioning from the administration of President Trump to President-elect Biden, according to a new order from the Government Services Administration.

In a letter to Biden, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said she had made an official "ascertainment" that Biden is the winner of the election and will "make certain post-election resources and services available to assist in the event of a presidential transition."

Biden has already begun naming senior members of his administration, but has yet to name his choice for defense secretary. He is widely thought to be considering Michèle Flournoy for that post.

Murphy has been criticized for taking so long to open the procedural doors necessary for an orderly presidential transition, while President Trump for weeks claimed without evidence the election was targeted by mass fraud and that he is the rightful winner.

In her letter, Murphy argued the law she must follow is "extremely narrow" as the GSA may not pick or certify a presidential winner.

But Trump's legal challenges have faced serious defeats in many courts and his legal team last week was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for promoting baseless conspiracy theories.

Murphy said she determined it would be appropriate to begin the transition process based on "recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results" by several states.

Murphy said she has always "strived to do what is right" and faced threats online, by phone and by mail for not making a more timely decision.

"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts," she wrote.

The GSA will make $6.3 million available to Biden's team to carry out the transition process.

Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of Biden's transition team, said Murphy's decision is "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," Abraham said.