Murphy’s move came after more Republicans, business leaders and former national security experts condemned the delay, pointing out that Murphy was endangering lives and noting that her refusal to allow the transition to proceed did not reflect a good-faith reading of federal law.
The normally mild-mannered Max Stier, president and chief executive of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, scolded Murphy: “Now that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has fulfilled her duty and ascertained the election results, the formal presidential transition can begin in full force,” he said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges. The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.” The statement continued: "Moving forward, we must pursue statutory remedies to ensure that a transition is never again upheld for arbitrary or political purposes. A clearer standard and a low bar for triggering access to transition resources are crucial to protecting the apolitical nature of presidential transitions.”
We can add that to the list of belt-and-suspender reforms needed in case — God forbid — another president comes along who’s willing to act in total disregard of applicable law and the national interest. In addition, one can imagine a slew of states will reexamine their own certification procedures. Every state should clarify that bureaucrats are not empowered to overturn the will of the people (and providing stiff criminal penalties if they try it). Now that one national party has demonstrated appalling bad faith and contempt for the will of the voters, we should all be a bit wiser about the need to eliminate loopholes that anti-democracy politicians might try to exploit.
We certainly have not seen the last of Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the election. I doubt that 2024 contenders and other Trump sycophants will concede that Biden won — let alone that the results were not very close (Biden racked up 306 electoral votes and a six-million-vote margin). These Republicans will simply move on, thereby placating the man who will wreak havoc in their party for years while attempting to avoid the impression that they, too, are conspiracy-mongers.
Nevertheless, the certification in Michigan, the dismissal of more lawsuits and the start of the transition marks the turning of a corner — made even more real with Biden’s announcement of a slew of Cabinet-level picks. In an appropriately celebratory video, the Biden-Harris transition team signaled a changing of the guard:
We are fortunate Biden exercised remarkable patience and began to assemble one of the most experienced Cabinets and White House staffs in history. He looks very big. Trump and his minions look petty, small and weak. That certainly is cause for rejoicing.