Election 2020

Trump's Administration Blinks, Begins Formal Transition Planning

Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede.


President Donald Trump is still not conceding that he lost the election, but on Monday, the head of the federal agency responsible for overseeing the transition from one administration to another formally told President-elect Joe Biden they were ready to begin.

This morning, Pennsylvania certified that Biden had won the state. The media and observers called the election for Biden on November 7, and subsequent election tallies have validated that call. But Trump remains insistent that he has been cheated of a win, and his campaign has filed numerous lawsuits that have so far completely failed in an extremely embarrassing fashion. His administration, taking his lead, has been resistant to cooperate with Biden's transition team.

Emily Murphy, the administrator for the General Services Administration, informed Biden yesterday via a letter that they were ready to assist with the transition. Half of Murphy's letter clarifies she wasn't dragging her feet because Trump ordered her to do so but rather because of the pending legal challenges:

Contrary to media reports and insinuations, my decision was not made out of fear or favoritism. Instead, I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA Administrator ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-elect. 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. GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified. These are issues that the Constitution, federal laws, and state laws leave to the election certification process and decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction. I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consider amendments to the Act.

The announcement also allows Biden's transition team access to $6.3 million in federal funds used to pay for the cost of changing administrations.

Trump, as is his way, is loudly insisting on Twitter that this still doesn't mean he lost:

And again this morning:

His campaign is still sending fundraising letter after fundraising letter to try to get people to send them money, and, in the words of a letter sent under Lara Trump's name just this morning, saying, "It is time for EVERY PATRIOT, like YOU, to step up and DEMAND that every single LEGAL vote is counted. We cannot allow the Democrats to undermine the Election and try to STEAL the White House." (In reality, a good chunk of some of these donations are actually going to pay off campaign debts.)

Judges have repeatedly swatted down legal challenges, and the Trump team's claims of fraud have reached the kind of comical depths even a television writer could not possibly have envisioned. It's within Trump's right to avail himself of the courts to try to turn this election around, but there is little point in everybody else pretending he hasn't lost.

Biden has also recently started announcing his cabinet picks, which include Antony Blinken (who served under both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) as secretary of state, Janet Yellen (former head of the Federal Reserve) as treasury secretary, and former Senator John Kerry as a "special envoy for climate."