The transfer of power in the United States to the new government of President-elect Joe Biden can officially begin. Biden has received a letter from the General Service Administration (GSA) government agency approved by current President Donald Trump. However, Trump’s many lawsuits against the election results in various US states are still ongoing.
Trump: ‘GSA must do what must be done’
That federal government agency, headed by Trump-appointed Emily Murphy, refused until recently to recognize Biden’s election victory, leaving the Democrat unable to access federal government resources.
“I take this role seriously and, due to recent developments around litigation and the certification of election results, send this letter today to make these resources and services available to you,” Murphy writes to Biden. Earlier, the official stated that she first wanted to be “assured” of Biden’s election victory before giving the green light for the transfer of power.
The GSA’s agreement on the transfer of power is of great practical importance to Biden. That service should give the election winner’s team access to things like office space, equipment and money to pay salaries. This involves millions of dollars.
Biden’s transition team calls the GSA’s decision a crucial event for a good and peaceful transfer of power. The team says it is soon to schedule meetings between the upcoming president and federal government officials about the corona epidemic and national security. So far, Biden has mostly had to deal with unofficial briefings and has no access to relevant classified information. Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20.
In a tweet, Trump backs the GSA’s decision to “do what needs to be done on the first protocols.” He also says he will let his own team do the same. The tweet appears to be the first open signal that Trump is acknowledging his election defeat.
Trump does emphasize in his message that he will continue to legally challenge his election defeat. According to Trump and his allies, widespread fraud has been committed in the election early this month, but there is no evidence to date for that claim.
Prior to the election, Trump refused several times when asked to guarantee that he would cooperate in a peaceful transfer of power in the event of a loss. In recent weeks, government circles have also raised doubts about this, for example by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who seemed to jokingly allude to a second term for Trump.
The GSA is a paper-neutral organization that should help the new president to fill important positions within the government in the two months before installation. In this way, a president can get off to a good start immediately after the inauguration.
GSA head Murphy has recently been criticized for not acknowledging the result. “My decision was not made by fear or favoritism,” Murphy writes in her letter. She adds that she was not pressured by the White House to wait that long and that she made the decision to initiate the transfer of power all by herself.