President Donald Trump all but conceded that he lost the 2020 election on Monday, clearing the path for Joe Biden to begin the formal transition to take office.
On Monday, General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy acknowledged that Biden was the “apparent winner” of the presidential race after Trump recommended that the agency “do what needs to be done.”
The move comes as the Trump campaign has faced a string of defeats in its efforts to overturn the results in key battleground states. Earlier, the state of Michigan officially certified Biden’s win in a major blow to Trump.
The concession also came after reports from NBC News emerged that Trump was increasingly losing confidence in his campaign’s legal team led by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Trump is reportedly complaining that the group, which boasted that it was some “elite strike force team,” was actually comprised of “fools that are making him look bad.”
Amid what most observers have interpreted as an admission of defeat, Trump claimed that he plans to continue fighting on, claiming in a tweet that his “case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”
President-elect Biden’s team welcomed the belated start of the transition process, claiming that it wants to get a better understanding of Trump’s efforts to “hollow out government agencies.”
“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,” said its statement. “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,” the statement added.
Administrator Emily Murphy said that the GSA would make $6.3 million in funds available to the president-elect.
Murphy, who was appointed by Trump to the federal agency, explained that her decision to recognize Biden’s win came amid “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”
Murphy further claimed that she received no pressure from the president to withhold the ascertainment needed to begin the transition process.
“To be clear I did not receive any direction to delay my determination,” she said in a letter to Biden.
“I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely,” Murphy added. “Even in the face of thousands of threats I have remained committed to upholding the law.”
Both Murphy and the outgoing president had faced an avalanche of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over their clear failure to recognize Trump’s defeat.
On Monday, Murphy missed a deadline set by Democrats to brief the House of Representatives about the delay.
Because Murphy had failed to clear federal resources for the transition, the president-elect’s team lacked access to funding, intelligence briefing, and communication with key government officials. Officials and former officials warned that the delays would harm the national security of the United States, which is facing surging numbers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who will soon retire, released a statement urging Trump to “put the country first” and allow Biden to succeed.
“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said in a statement.
Over 160 business leaders also wrote an open letter to Murphy demanding that she immediately recognize Biden as president-elect.
“Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,″ they wrote.
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