WASHINGTON – The President Trump administration on Monday authorized President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to initiate a formal transition process after Michigan confirmed Mr. Biden as the winner. This is a strong sign that the president’s last attempt to discard the election results came to an end.
Mr Trump did not concede and vowed to continue efforts to change the vote which so far have proven unsuccessful. But the president said on Twitter Monday night that he had accepted the decision of Emily W. Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, to allow a transition.
In his tweetMr Trump said he had told his officials to begin “initial minutes” which include handing it over to Mr Biden “in the best interests of our country,” although his announcement followed weeks of trying to have a free and fair election wrongly undermine fraud claims.
Ms. Murphy’s appointment of Mr. Biden as the obvious winner provides federal funding and resources for the in-depth administration, and paves the way for advisors to the President-elect to coordinate with representatives of the Trump administration.
Ms. Murphy’s decision came after several other senior Republican lawmakers, as well as business and world affairs leaders, denounced the delay in the initiation of the peaceful transfer of power, which Mr. Biden and his top aides said was a threat to national security and the ability of the in-depth management to plan effectively to address the coronavirus pandemic.
And what followed was a major court ruling in Pennsylvania where the state Supreme Court ruled Monday against the Trump campaign and the president’s Republican allies, stating that approximately 8,000 ballot papers with signature or date irregularities must be counted.
In Michigan, the two Republicans and two Democrats nationwide advertising committee voted 3-0 to approve the results, with one Republican abstaining. It officially provided Mr Biden with an important battleground that Mr Trump wrested from the Democrats four years ago, and dismissed the president’s legal and political efforts to reverse the results.
On Monday night, as Mr Biden put forward plans to fill out his cabinet, much of the nation had delivered a clear message to a defeated president: his campaign to stay in the White House and undermine the elections was unrealistic from the start and nearing the end.
Ms. Murphy said she made her decision on Monday based on “recent developments related to legal challenges and certification of election results,” which most likely relate to certification of votes by Michigan election officials and a nearly uninterrupted series of court decisions that Mr. have Trump’s challenges in several states.
In a statement, Yohannes Abraham, executive director of Mr Biden’s transition, said Ms. Murphy’s decision “was a necessary step in addressing our nation’s challenges.”
He added that Mr Biden’s advisors would soon meet with representatives of the Trump administration “to discuss the pandemic response, fully consider our national security interests, and gain a full understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts, government agencies to hollow out “.
Mr. Trump had opposed any move towards transition. But in talks over the past few days, which intensified Monday morning, top aides – including Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Pat A. Cipollone, White House attorney; and Jay Sekulow, the president’s personal attorney, told the president that the transition must begin. He didn’t need to say the word “admit”, they told him, according to several people who were briefed on the discussions.
Mr Trump continued to seek opinions from staff, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, who told him there were still legal avenues that could be traced, people said.
Some of the advisors wrote a statement for the President. In the end, Mr. Trump didn’t release one, but aides said the tone was similar to his tweets that evening, which appeared to appear to appreciate Ms. Murphy’s decision to allow the transition.
“Our case goes STRONG, we will continue the good fight and I believe we will prevail!” he wrote. “Even so, in the best interests of our country, I recommend Emily and her team to do what needs to be done regarding the initial protocols, and I have told my team to do the same.”
In a letter to Mr Biden, first reported by CNN, Ms. Murphy denied Mr Trump’s allegation that he directed her to make the decision, saying, “I am independent of mine based on the law and the facts available Decision made. “She said she was” never pressured, directly or indirectly, by any executive officer, including those who work in the White House or the G.S.A. “
“I don’t think an agency tasked with improving federal procurement and real estate management should put itself above the constitutional electoral process,” she wrote, defending her delay by saying it had the constitutional process of counting did not want to be ahead of votes and selection of a president.
Your letter did not seem to upset Mr. Trump or his supporters. In it, she did not describe Mr Biden as the president-elect, although she said the transition could begin.
A staff member with knowledge of Ms. Murphy’s thinking said that she always expected to sign the transition but that she needed reasonable justification to do so as Mr. Trump had not granted a concession. The recent pro-Biden developments in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, which confirmed Mr. Biden’s victory there last Friday, were a clear justification for further developments.
That decision was part of a cascade of events over the past few days that seemed to signal the end of Mr. Trump’s attempts to resist the will of voters.
Large counties in Pennsylvania formalized Mr. Biden’s victory in the state. And in a major break with the President, General Motors announced that it would no longer support the government’s efforts to repeal California’s fuel economy rules.
On Capitol Hill, most of Mr. Trump’s Republican allies stood by his side for the past two weeks as he tried to undo Mr. Biden’s victory. But on Monday, some of the Senate’s senior Republicans strongly urged Ms. Murphy to allow the transition.
Retiring Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has issued his second call for a speedy transition in the past few days.
“Since it is evident that Joe Biden will be president-elect, I hope that President Trump will be proud of his remarkable accomplishments, putting the country first, and making a swift and orderly transition to make the new administration a success “said Mr. Alexander, a close friend of Senator Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican and majority leader. “When you’re in public life, the last thing you remember is what people remember.”
Earlier in the day, Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, both Republicans, issued statements violating Mr Trump and urging Mr Biden to get coronavirus and national safety information.
“The 2020 elections have to end sometime,” said Ms. Capito.
The pressure on Mr. Trump went beyond the political sphere. More than 100 business leaders sent a letter to the administration on Monday asking them to facilitate a transition Republican National Security Expert Group Pleaded Republican Congressmen to admit Mr. Trump.
One of the President’s most staunch supporters, Stephen A. Schwarzman, executive director of private equity firm Blackstone, did not sign the business leaders’ letter but said in a statement: “The outcome today is very certain and the country should move on. ”
The most dramatic evidence that Mr Trump’s efforts to challenge the election waned on Monday came in Michigan, where days of speculation about the confirmation of the state vote ended with the 3-0 vote by the Advertising Commission. It did so after hours of comments from local employees, elected officials and the public, most of whom said the board’s only legal role was to confirm, not scrutinize, the election results.
As the meeting progressed, it became clear that a Republican member of the Acquisition Board, Aaron Van Langevelde, was leaning toward certification. He asked several times if the board had legal authority to do something else.
“There is nothing in the law that gives me the authority to request an exam,” he said. “I think the law is on my side here. We are not authorized to request an audit or to delay or block certification. “
The other Republican on the board, Norm Shinkle, abstained.
Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Democratic Secretary of State, said in a statement that “democracy prevailed” against “an unprecedented assault on its integrity”. She said the state will now initiate procedures, including a risk-limiting review, to further reaffirm the integrity of the elections.
Another crucial swing state, Pennsylvania, also moved toward cementing results on Monday. Several counties confirmed the vote, despite the fact that Republicans were scattered on the ground to halt the process. Mr. Biden won Pennsylvania by approximately 80,000 votes.
In Allegheny County, the state’s second largest county and home to Pittsburgh, the county board voted 2-1 in favor of confirming the results. And in Philadelphia, the largest county, city commissioners confirmed the results Monday night after the state Supreme Court rejected a Republican motion to disqualify the 8,000 postal ballots.
Pennsylvania law requires counties to confirm their votes by the third Monday after the election, but there is no real penalty for missing the deadline.
The statewide results will not be officially confirmed until all counties report. The process will then be passed on to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and then to Governor Tom Wolf for final signing and voting by voters. Both officials are Democrats.
Despite the counties’ certifications on Monday, the Trump campaign filed an urgency complaint in the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals to halt statewide certification.
Still, the legal challenges of the Trump campaign, spearheaded by Mr Giuliani, were so unsuccessful and largely ridiculed that the president acknowledged to advisors that the former New York City mayor’s appearances had become a debacle.
By late Monday, Mr. Biden’s team had already taken their first steps towards a more formal transition and moved their website. buildbackbetter.comto his new home on government servers made possible by Ms. Murphy’s decision: Buildbackbetter.gov.
Michael D. Shear reported from Washington, Maggie Haberman and Nick Corasaniti from New York and Jim Rutenberg from Montauk, New York. Kathleen Gray reported from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Nicholas Fandos and Emily Cochrane from Washington.