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Trump authorizes Biden presidential transition to begin through the GSA but vows to continue challenge

President Donald J. Trump at the White House on Nov. 13, 2020. (Tia Dufour/White House) | Joe Biden at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Feb. 2020. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
November 23, 2020

The Government Services Administration (GSA) has begun formal transition proceedings for the incoming Biden administration.

GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to the Biden campaign, “I have the ability … to make certain post-election resources and service available to assist in the event of a presidential transition. … and because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you.”

The news came at the same time President Donald Trump tweeted saying that he recommended Murphy move forward with transition protocols.

“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. Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!” Trump said in the tweet. “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 Biden campaign also released a statement saying, “The GSA Administrator has ascertained President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the apparent winners of the election, providing the incoming Administration with the resources and support necessary to carry out a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.”

“This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies. 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,” Biden’s campaign statement added.

The announcement came less than two hours after Michigan election officials voted to officially certify Biden as the winner of the state’s presidential race.

Biden had secured 2,804,040 votes in the state, amassing 50.63% of the vote, while President Donald Trump received 2,649,852 votes for 47.85%. His 154,000-vote, 2.8 percent margin was larger than his margin in Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – four other states where Trump waged measures to contest the results.

The Republican National Committee and the state’s Republican Party had urged the board to delay the certification for 14 days until an investigation could be conducted on alleged voting irregularities in Wayne County – the state’s largest county and seat to Detroit.

Georgia also certified the state’s election results in favor of Biden on Friday.

In Pennsylvania, a judge ruled against the Trump campaign’s legal challenge. The Trump campaign appealed, however, requesting urgent consideration from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to challenge the state’s election results.

The Trump campaign’s challenge in Pennsylvania focuses on seven Democratic-majority counties in which they allege mail-in ballots were mishandled.