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Trump agrees to Biden transition, vows to keep fighting poll result

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: November 24, 2020 13:35 IST
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United States President Donald Trump has finally given a go-ahead to begin the transition process for president-elect Joe Biden after the state of Michigan certified the Democratic leader's victory in the November 3 Presidential election, paving the way for a smooth handover of power after weeks of delay.

 

President Trump, a Republican, however, did not formally concede the election to Biden, saying he would 'continue to fight and will prevail'.

He has launched a slew of lawsuits in key states, but has not provided any evidence to back his claims of electoral fraud. Many of the lawsuits have been dismissed by courts.

On Monday, the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) Emily Murphy informed Biden in a letter that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process.

The letter from Murphy, a Trump appointee, is the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge President Trump's defeat, more than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner.

Taking to Twitter after Murphy wrote to Biden, Trump said that he has asked to begin the transition process in the best interest of the country.

'...fight, and I believe we will prevail! 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.

'What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history? We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & 'Dominion',' Trump said in a series of tweets.

In her letter, Murphy said she took the decision 'independently' and based on the law.

'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 said she was making USD 6.3 million in funds available to the president-elect for the transition process. Biden is set to be sworn in as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021.

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 more 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.

On Monday, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers formally granted Biden the state's 16 electoral votes.

In a statement, Biden-Harris Transition Executive Director Yohannes Abraham said the GSA administrator has ascertained President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala 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.

Sue Gough, Pentagon spokesperson said that the Department of Defence (DoD) has received notice that the GSA Administrator is making certain post-election resources and services available to the Biden-Harris Transition Team.

'...We will begin immediately implementing our plan to provide support in accordance with statute, DoD policy and the memorandum of agreement between the White House and the Biden-Harris team.

'The DoD Transition Task Force will arrange and coordinate all DoD contact with the Biden-Harris team. DoD is prepared to provide post-election services and support in a professional, orderly and efficient manner that is befitting of the public's expectation of the Department and our commitment to national security,' Gough said.

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Lalit K Jha
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