Watch: US agency declares Biden ‘apparent winner’ - clearing way for transition
Donald Trump has finally ordered the transition to start “in the best interests of our country.”
...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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
“I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country,” tweeted the outgoing president.
"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!
“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 Biden’s transition team was informed that the White House was ready to begin the process in a letter from Ms Murphy.
She had been accused by Democrats of holding up the federal government’s co-operation with the president-elect.
"I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision," Ms Murphy wrote in the letter reported CNN.
BREAKING: GSA head, Emily Murphy, has moved to officially begin transition and give president-elect Joe Biden the resources to transition including $6.3 million. Here’s her letter. pic.twitter.com/Xlv6y6IWvt
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) November 23, 2020
The General Services Administration had been withholding federal funds from Mr Biden’s transition team in an unprecedented move.
The move from the White House came just hours after Michigan formally certified its election results and days after Georgia did the same.
Pennsylvania is expected to shortly certify its results, giving the win and its state’s electoral college votes to Mr Biden.
In recent days a string of Republican senators, including Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Ohio’s Rob Portman, have turned on Mr Trump and called for the transition to begin to ensure a smooth handover to Mr Biden.
Mr Biden’s team welcomed the government’s recognition of his election victory.
“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,” said Biden-Harris transition executive Yohannes Abraham.
"Today’s 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.
"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.”
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