Trump Refuses to Authorize Biden Transition Planning
For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.It’s not as though this is surprising, but still:
A Trump administration appointee is refusing to sign a letter allowing President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to formally begin its work this week, in another sign the incumbent president has not acknowledged Biden’s victory and could disrupt the transfer of power.
….But by Sunday evening, almost 36 hours after media outlets projected Biden as the winner, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy had written no such letter. And the Trump administration, in keeping with the president’s failure to concede the election, has no immediate plans to sign one.
….The delay has implications both practical and symbolic. By declaring the “apparent winner” of a presidential election, the GSA administrator releases computer systems and money for salaries and administrative support for the mammoth undertaking of setting up a new government — $9.9 million this year.
Transition officials get government email addresses. They get office space at every federal agency. They can begin to work with the Office of Government Ethics to process financial disclosure and conflict-of-interest forms for their nominees. And they get access to senior officials, both political appointees of the outgoing administration and career civil servants, who relay an agency’s ongoing priorities and projects, upcoming deadlines, problem areas and risks. The federal government is a $4.5 trillion operation, and while the Biden team is not new to government, the access is critical, experts said. This is all on hold for now.
The Trump team is determined to leave office the same way it spent its four years in office: throwing tantrums every time it doesn’t get its way. And Republican leaders, who ought to have finally broken free of the spell Trump has had them under, are apparently still afraid to incur his wrath and tell him to go home. If this is a harbinger of how Mitch McConnell plans to treat Biden after the inauguration, it’s gonna be a long four years.