WASHINGTON – Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator, Emily W. Murphy is refusing to sign off on a key document needed to formally begin the transition process and to recognize Joe Biden as the winner of the election and president-elect. Murphy is the person tasked with officially affirming Biden has won the election on behalf of the Trump administration – something Trump has refused to do. She needs to sign a letter to release funds to the Biden transition team through a process called ascertainment. This would mark the first formal acknowledgment from the Trump administration that Biden has won the election, and would unlock access to national security tools to streamline background checks and additional funds to pay for training and incoming staff. The following statement was released by Public Citizen president, Robert Weissman:
“Under the terms of the Presidential Transition Act, the GSA administrator is charged with making an “ascertainment” that the election has been resolved. That determination starts the formal transition process, enabling the incoming administration transition team to gain access to funds and equipment, to start conflict-of-interest vetting for potential nominees, and, most importantly, to begin liaising with top officials of the outgoing administration.
“This is a simple and straightforward process designed to make government work, to facilitate an effective start to the new administration. It has no partisan slant.
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“Unfortunately, Murphy is infusing partisanship – at the expense of the American people – into the process. Murphy is outrageously refusing to acknowledge what all independent observers know to be true: Joe Biden won the election. In refusing to make an ascertainment of Biden’s victory, she is foiling the transition process, leaving the incoming Biden administration less well equipped to address the coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis, and national security, among other crucial matters.
“That Donald Trump can’t come to terms with his defeat is no excuse for Murphy not doing her job. Nor are the Trump administration’s lawsuits; Murphy’s ascertainment does not influence court cases or the Electoral College. If for some reason the results of the election were reversed, no damage would be done for having started and then stopped the transition process. On the other hand, every moment of Murphy’s delay is another setback for democracy and government preparation to address the nation’s urgent needs.”