America’s General Services Administration has formally designated Joe Biden as the apparent winner of the presidential election, providing federal funds and resources to begin a transition from President Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on January 20.
President Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to cooperate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.
President 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 Ms. 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.”
The GSA’s decision came after several more senior Republican lawmakers denounced administrator Emily 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, Ms. Murphy said she was “never directly or indirectly pressured by any executive branch official — including those who work at the White House or the G.S.A.”
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.
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.
Earlier, Biden’s victory in the state of Michigan was officially certified, in a major blow to Trump.
One of two Republicans on the Michigan State Board of Canvassers joined the two Democrats to finalise the result. The other Republican abstained.
Biden was projected to win the state by more than 150,000 votes.
Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the 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.”
He added: “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.”