US President Donald Trump on Monday (November 23) asked officials to begin the transition process for President-elect Joe Biden, after the head of the federal agency responsible for this said she would provide him the necessary government resources to move in to the White House.
Trump, however, insisted that he would “continue to fight and will prevail”. Trump, who lost the November 3 presidential elections to Biden and his Indian-origin running mate Kamala Harris, has yet not conceded.
His campaign has filed multiple lawsuits of voter fraud and electoral malpractice, many of which have been dismissed by courts.
Trumps tweets came hours after General Services Administrator Emily Murphy wrote a letter to President-elect Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process.
“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. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination,” Murphy said in her letter as reported by multiple news outlets.
Murphy had come under a lot of criticism after she refused to give the president-elect access to the federal resources required for the transition. Lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican party had slammed her for this.
“GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified,” Murphy wrote in her letter.
“These are issues that the Constitution, federal laws, and state laws leave to the election certification process and decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction. I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consider amendments to the Act,” Murphy said.
Later, Trump put out two tweets in which he thanked Murphy for her services.
“I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our country. She has been harassed, threatened, and abused and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” Trump tweeted.
“Nevertheless, 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 said.
In a statement, Biden-Harris Transition Executive Director Yohannes Abraham said the GSA administrator has ascertained President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris as the apparent winners of the election, providing the incoming administration with the resources and support necessary to carry out a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.
“Today’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,” he said.
“This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies. 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.
Meanwhile, in another setback for Trump, Michigan election officials on Monday certified Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one abstention.
Biden, whose government is expected to prioritise climate change, named John Kerry, one of the leading architects of the Paris climate agreement as the climate envoy for national security.
Biden’s team gave little immediate detail on Monday about how he envisioned Kerry shaping the new job, which many on social media and on all sides of the climate-action spectrum were quick to dub ‘climate czar’. But the transition team made clear that it will be a prominent role, with Kerry becoming the first member of the National Security Council to focus exclusively on climate change.
It was one of Biden’s first steps in making good on campaign pledges to confront climate damage from fossil fuel emissions more broadly and forcefully than any previous US administration. And it’s a sign of how the incoming administration is heeding warnings that natural disasters from global warming will weaken US defence and spur conflicts around the globe.