After weeks of dragging their feet, the U.S.’s General Service Administration (GSA) has “ascertained” that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the presidential election, allowing the formal transition process to begin.
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said that “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results” were part of her decision, as per the Associated Press.
Earlier in the day, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers voted to certify Mr. Biden as the winner of the state’s vote (16 Electoral College votes), despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s attempts to get state legislators to block the certification.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has thus far refused to concede the election came close on Monday but stopped short of conceding and tweeted that he had “recommended” that the initial protocols begin but said he will continue to challenge the election results in court.
“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,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
He said he had recommended that Ms. Murphy start the “initial protocols”.
“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good 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,” Mr. Trump wrote.
Hours before the ascertainment, several Republican Senators – including Lamar Alexander of Tennessee (who is retiring) and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia asked for the transition to begin.
“Since it seems apparent that Joe Biden will be the president-elect, my hope is that President 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,” Mr. Alexander said. “When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do.”
The formal nod to the transition will allow the Biden-Harris team to work with government officials on a number of issues including COVID-19, vaccine development and distribution as well as matters of national security and the economy.
“This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies,” Biden-Harris transition Executive Director Yohannes Abraham said in a statement, adding that the team will meet federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, national security and ” the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”