Murphy finally sends GSA letter clearing the way for transition to Biden

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks after meeting with governors in Wilmington, Delaware
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks to reporters following an online meeting with members of the National Governors Association (NGA) executive committee in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 19, 2020.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner

General Services Administration leader Emily Murphy has signed and submitted a letter acknowledging the results of the 2020 presidential election and formally beginning the transition process to the Biden presidency, CNN reported Monday afternoon.

The head of the independent federal agency that oversees normal government functions had hesitated for weeks in issuing the letter as the Trump campaign filed baseless legal challenges to the election results. Biden was declared the winner of the election by media outlets on Nov. 7, with 306 electoral votes and more than 80 million votes cast in his favor.

“The GSA has informed president-elect Joe Biden the administration is ready to begin the formal transition process, according to a letter from administrator Emily Murphy sent Monday afternoon and obtained by CNN,” the cable news outlet’s Kristen Holmes reported

Murphy’s letter comes hours after Michigan formally certified the results of its election; Biden won the Great Lakes State, and its 16 electoral votes, by more than 100,000 votes.

This now clears the way for government agencies to begin preparing for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to take office at noon on Jan. 20, 2021. It also frees up government funding for the Biden transition team to operate, and allows the incoming commander-in-chief to receive daily intelligence briefings.

Trump has yet to concede defeat; a formal concession from him is not necessary, as his term ends at noon on Jan. 20, 2021, as based on the U.S. Constitution. 

The outgoing president claimed on Twitter that he had given Murphy permission to send the letter, though he vowed to continue protesting his own defeat. 

His campaign has filed dozens of lawsuits, based largely on thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories and other legally invalid claims, seeking to have vote results thrown out by the courts. The Trump legal team has lost all but one of its 36 court filings, making zero impact on the results of the election.

Murphy — whom Trump appointed to her post in 2017 — balked at sending the letter over the past two weeks, despite public pressure to do so. Mayor Bill de Blasio was one of many lawmakers who reached out to Murphy and urged her to issue the transition authorization, saying that the delays threatened to negatively impact the city’s efforts to slow the COVID-19 second wave.