WASHINGTON — The General Services Administration ascertained Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the 2020 election late Monday, officially clearing the way for the transition from President Donald Trump to begin.
The formal designation, issued by GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, not only authorizes Biden’s advisers to coordinate with Trump Administration officials but also provides more than $6 million in federal funds and resources to support the transition, The New York Times reported.
According to CNN, President-elect Biden was informed of the decision by a letter from Murphy sent Monday afternoon.
Murphy’s one-page letter emphasized her commitment to fairness throughout the process, noting she has “always strived to do what is right,” despite the nearly three-week delay in formally declaring the election’s victor.
“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts,” she wrote. “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.”
Meanwhile, Trump, who has not formally conceded, responded to Murphy’s determination with a series of tweets appearing to accept her decision but vowing to “keep up the good fight.”
In explaining her delayed action, Murphy bemoaned the ambiguity in the President Transition Act of 1963, which was intended to guide her ultimate declaration, The Washington Post reported.
“Unfortunately, the statute provides no procedures or standards for this process, so I looked to precedent from prior elections involving legal challenges and incomplete counts,” Murphy wrote. “GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified.”
Murphy was appointed to her current position by Trump in 2017, the Post reported.
Meanwhile, President-elect Biden’s transition team issued a statement via Twitter following the GSA’s ruling noting that the novel coronavirus pandemic response, national security and the bolstering of government agencies will be made priorities in the transition’s first days.
Cox Media Group