US President-elect Joe Biden has started preparing for his move to the White House, but incumbent Donald Trump refuses to concede defeat giving rise to fears that the transition may not be smooth and could get delayed.
Biden and Kamala Harris, the Vice-President-elect, have launched a website BuildBackBetter.com and a Twitter handle @Transition46 to provide details of the transition. The 46 in the Twitter handle refers to the fact that Biden will be the 46th President of the United States.
According to the website, the main priorities of the Biden administration will be COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change. It said, “The team being assembled will meet these challenges on Day One.” Biden will be sworn in as the new president on January 20, 2021.
The President-elect has also started informal work on the transition. He is preparing a list of names of people who he plans to appoint to the White House. Amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the country, where the number of cases has crossed 10 million, Biden plans to hold a meeting of a task force formed to deal with the coronavirus on Monday.
But Trump has indicated that the transition will not be easy. “The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump said in a statement after many channels, based on counting trends, declared Joe Biden will emerge as the winner of the Presidential elections. “I will not rest until the American people have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands,” he said.
“Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?” he said in a tweet. The President plans to file lawsuits soon challenging the counting in many states. His lawyer Rudy Giuliani said there is “a lot of evidence” of fraud. He said a lawsuit will be filed in Pennsylvania on Monday against officials “for violating civil rights, for conducting an unfair election (and) for violating the law of the state”. “The second will either be Michigan or Georgia.” Giuliani said.
The transition in the US is governed by the Presidential Transition Act, which allows officials of the President-elect to work with the federal government and set up offices in available or expanded space. The Act states that the administrator of the General Services Administration GSA) will formally decide who the winner is. On Saturday, the GSA said it has not yet determined who the winner is. Its spokeswoman Pamela Pennington said, “An ascertainment has not yet been made. GSA and its administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law.”
Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, was appointed by Trump and she has been refusing to sign the transition papers that is necessary to provide the new team access to government officials and office space and also hand over millions of dollars to officials of the incoming President.
Only after the GSA administrator announces the “apparent winner” will the GSA provide Biden’s team access to computer systems and money needed to pay salaries and for administrative support for setting up the new government.
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“Now that the election has been independently called for Joe Biden, we look forward to the GSA administrator quickly ascertaining Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the president-elect and vice president-elect,” the Biden-Harris Transition said in a statement.