Who is Emily Murphy? General Services Administration acknowledges Joe Biden's win and begins formal transition

In the letter, Administrator Murphy said she had not been pressured by the White House to delay the formal transition and did not make a decision 'out of fear or favoritism'

                            Who is Emily Murphy? General Services Administration acknowledges Joe Biden's win and begins formal transition
Donald Trump, Emily Murphy and Joe Biden (Getty Images)

The General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Donald Trump administration is ready to start the formal transition process, according to a letter sent by Administrator Emily Murphy on Monday, November 23. This creates a way for Biden’s team to get access to briefings, office space, secure computers and other government services needed for the transfer of power.

The letter is also a first step taken by the administration to recognize President Trump's defeat in the November 3 elections, according to CNN. In the letter, Murphy said she had not been pressured by the White House to delay the formal transition and did not make a decision "out of fear or favoritism".

"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts," Murphy wrote. "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. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination."

This marks Murphy's formal sign off on Biden's victory, a process known as ascertainment. This will allow the transition to officially begin, allowing current administration agency officials to coordinate with the incoming Biden team and providing millions in government funding for the transition.

The delay in ascertainment meant that Biden's team could not access government data and could not make contact with federal agencies, nor could it spend $6.3 million in government funding now available for the transition.

Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden-Harris transition team, as quoted by USA Today, said, “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.”

Meanwhile, Trump tweeted, “I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country. 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.”




Who is Emily Murphy?

(General Services Administration)

According to a CNN report, Murphy has been in charge of the GSA since 2017, making her one of the long-serving Trump appointees. Before her nomination, she served as a senior adviser to her predecessor — acting GSA administrator Timothy Horne. She was also an aide for the House Armed Services and Small Business Committees and worked as GSA's chief acquisition officer during the George W Bush administration.

Murphy is originally from Missouri and was introduced at her confirmation hearing by former Missouri Democratic Sen Claire McCaskill, who praised her lengthy career in government. She was confirmed in the Senate by voice vote.

In 2018, she was part of a much-discussed decision to reject plans for a new FBI headquarters outside Washington, DC, and instead, rebuild on the same location — across the street from the Trump International Hotel. At a 2018 congressional hearing, she faced questions regarding whether the White House was involved in the decision, which critics alleged that Trump had influenced in order to keep a competitor from gaining the space across from his hotel.

According to the CNN report, Murphy had spoken to Trump about the project in the Oval Office, which she did not disclose to lawmakers. The GSA Inspector General charged that her testimony “left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the President or senior White House officials in the decision-making process about the project.” She responded by saying that the inspector general's conclusion was "unfounded and unfair."

Twitter reactions

After the contents of the letter went public, social media users also discussed Murphy and her decision. One said, “Emily Murphy was not ready to go down with Trump.”

Another said, “Trump said he suggested that Murphy inform Biden of a transition. Emily Murphy has, said it was solely her idea. My guess is, Trump is the liar.” A user commented, “Surreal times... letter from Emily Murphy spends 3 lengthy paragraphs trying to defend her independence and actions until now... then President Trump tweets and takes credit for her decision... I am happy that we are moving forward, but we must hold these actors accountable.”






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