Joe Biden formally designated apparent winner of 3 Nov election by GSA administrator

Most of Donald Trump’s Republican allies had stood by his side as he attempted to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 3 November election

The New York Times November 24, 2020 06:39:28 IST
Joe Biden formally designated apparent winner of 3 Nov election by GSA administrator

File image of Joe Biden. By Erin Schaff © 2020 The New York Times

Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, on Monday formally designated Joe Biden as the apparent winner of the presidential election, providing federal funds and resources to begin a transition and authorising his advisors to begin coordinating with Trump administration officials.

The decision came after several more senior Republican lawmakers denounced Murphy’s delay in allowing the peaceful transfer of power to begin, a delay that Biden and his top aides said was threatening national security and the ability of the incoming administration to effectively plan for combating the ongoing pandemic.

In her letter, Murphy said she was “never directly or indirectly pressured by any executive branch official — including those who work at the White House or the GSA.” She defended her delay by saying that she did not want to get ahead of the constitutional process of counting votes and picking a president.

“I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process,” she wrote in a letter to Biden’s transition.

President Donald Trump, who has spent more than two weeks claiming falsely that he won the election and pushing conspiracy theories about fraudulent voting, said on Twitter that he accepted Murphy’s decision even as he vowed to continue legal fights challenging the result.

“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” Trump wrote. “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.”

Murphy refuted Trump’s assertion that he directed her to make the decision, saying in her letter that “I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts.”

In her letter, Murphy said she made her decision on Monday because of “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results,” likely referring to the certification of votes by election officials in several states and a string of court decisions that have rejected Trump’s challenges.

Michigan’s statewide electoral board approved its presidential vote tally on Monday, resisting pressure from Trump to delay the process and paving the way for Biden to receive the state’s 16 electoral votes. In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court ruled against the Trump campaign and Republican allies, stating that roughly 8,000 ballots with signature or date issues must be counted.

Most of Trump’s Republican allies had stood by his side as he attempted to overturn Biden’s victory. But on Monday, some of the Senate’s most senior Republicans sharply urged Murphy to allow the transition to proceed.

Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a senior Republican who is retiring this year, issued his second call in the last three days for a prompt transition.

“Since it seems apparent that Joe Biden will be the president-elect, my hope is that Trump will take pride in his considerable accomplishments, put the country first and have a prompt and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed,” said Alexander, a close friend of Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky and the majority leader. “When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do.”

Earlier in the day, Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia released statements breaking from Trump and calling for Biden to begin receiving coronavirus and national security briefings.

In an op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer published on Monday, Portman acknowledged that “a substantial majority of the nearly 74 million Americans who supported Trump question the legitimacy of the election.” But he insisted that voters needed to understand that despite statewide efforts to recount votes, “the initial determination showing Joe Biden with enough electoral votes to win has not changed.”

Michael D Shear, Nicholas Fandos and Catie Edmondson c.2020 The New York Times Company

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