BY JONATHAN EASLEY – 11/18/20
Joe Biden said Wednesday that it’s fully within the authority of the General Services Administration (GSA) to recognize him as the president-elect in order to empower a smooth transition process, even as President Trump refuses to concede defeat and blocks his rival from critical transition resources.
Speaking to a panel of health care workers, Biden made the case that the GSA, which is tasked with ascertaining a victor in the presidential election, needs to determine only that he is the “apparent” winner.
Biden said there’s no reason for the GSA to wait until the states or Congress certifies the election and declares him the official winner.
One of the problems we’re having now is the failure of the administration to recognize,” Biden said. “The law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is, and then they have access to all the data and information the government possesses to be prepared. It doesn’t require there to be an absolute winner. It says the apparent winner.”
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, who was appointed by Trump, has so far refused to ascertain Biden as the winner, even though he leads by tens of thousands of votes in key battleground states and is expected to win the Electoral College by a comfortable margin.
Trump is disputing the outcome, making baseless allegations of widespread and systemic fraud. The Trump campaign is paying for a recount in some counties in Wisconsin, where Trump trails Biden by 20,000 votes. They’ll also likely request a recount in Georgia, where Trump trails by about 13,000 votes.
But it is extremely unlikely that those legal challenges or recounts will change the outcome, and Democrats are furious at the Trump administration for impeding the transition.
Because the GSA has declined to ascertain Biden as the winner, the president-elect cannot access government officials or national security briefings.