Emily Murphy To Let Joe Biden Have His Precious Transition If You're All Going To Be SO MEAN ABOUT IT
Can someone get General Services Administrator Emily Murphy a pacifier? And a blanket, and a bottle, and her favorite teddy, and maybe a pudding cup if she promises to stop whining so the country can get some work done?
Yesterday, the government official whose IRL job is to greenlight transition planning finally allowed the process to begin. A mere two weeks after Biden's victory became a mathematical certainty, and just shy of three weeks since the election itself, she's acceded to objective reality and "ascertained" that Biden is the apparent winner. And she did it in a breathtakingly self-indulgent letter in which she praised her own integrity while complaining mightily about having to do her damn job.
Just look at this shit!
I have dedicated much of my adult life to public service, and I have always strived to do what is right. Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. 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. I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely. Even in the face of thousands of threats, I always remained committed to upholding the law.
First of all, toggling between the RNC and various Republican House committees ain't exactly the Peace Corps. Second, the entire world can see on Twitter where Trump admits that he quit blocking the transition and "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 third, while we're very sorry that Ms. Murphy was threatened, and people should not do that, it has nothing to do with her obligation to hand over the $7 million and government access to which President-elect Biden is legally entitled.
The letter begins with a baldly self-serving misstatement: "As the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, I have the ability under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended, to make certain post-election resources and services available to assist in the event of a presidential transition." In fact, Ms. Murphy has an affirmative duty, not just an "ability" — that's why the enabling law says "shall" not "can, if she feels like it, after planting one million stories saying how agonizing it is to have to do her damn job when the president is throwing a public tantrum."
"I strongly believe that the statute requires that the GSA Administrator ascertain, not impose, the apparent president-elect," she wrote, in a protracted explanation for her unprecedented delay — as in, has literally never happened before — in "ascertaining" the results of an election which have been apparent for weeks now to everyone capable of third grade arithmetic.
GSA does not dictate the outcome of legal disputes and recounts, nor does it determine whether such proceedings are reasonable or justified. These are issues that the Constitution, federal laws, and state laws leave to the election certification process and decisions by courts of competent jurisdiction. I do not think that an agency charged with improving federal procurement and property management should place itself above the constitutionally-based election process. I strongly urge Congress to consider amendments to the Act.
Which is a long way of saying that she, like every other hack in Trumpland, has rejected the evidence of her eyes and ears in favor of a cult leader who insists that "what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening." If Trump said the moon was made of mozzarella, they'd swear that there was genuine scientific debate. Have you ever been to the moon, Lib?, they'd parry. And now, with the president barfing out nonsense about 232 being more than 306, the lackeys that surround him pretend to be flummoxed, desperately counting on their fingers and trying to solve this extremely difficult calculation.
Here's how the Washington Post described poor Emily Murphy's dilemma:
But Murphy wanted more certainty before triggering the transfer of power, those close to her said, even as her resistance was upending hundreds of years of peaceful handovers. She considered the mileposts to come. Battleground states would certify the vote and Trump's legal fight would play out, she told colleagues.
Then there was the president's anger, and the risk that he would fire her and her top aides if she moved forward. Republicans in her party, while privately acknowledging that Trump had lost, were sticking with the president in public. Murphy had little cover.
Then threats came in as furious Trump critics demanded that she release the money. The GSA had to provide her with a security detail. Democrats on Capitol Hill were summoning Murphy to brief them and threatening to haul her to a public hearing.
Oh, noes! Should she acknowledge objective reality and risk being fired from a position she'll be out of in two months anyway? Are we supposed to feel sorry for Murphy — a former Hill staffer! — for having to face Katie Porter and explain why she's unwilling to do her damn job? Oh never mind: She refuse to show up to face Katie Porter anyway.
The Post fails to point out in this article that Murphy has had no trouble fudging her testimony before Congress before. She's the one who dummied up the math to make it seem like moving the FBI building outside DC to a location where it could be secured wouldn't work, a feat accomplished by omitting the anticipated revenue from selling the property. Of course selling the property would likely result in a competing hotel being erected across the street from Trump's DC Emoluments Palace, and we can't have that. It's probably a coincidence that Murphy is suddenly worried about appearing before Congress sixty days before Bill Barr hands over the DOJ to someone who won't be throwing up spurious executive privilege claims and shielding all Trumpland lackeys from prosecution for lying to Congress.
So, yeah, slow clap for Emily Murphy, who finally put on her big girl pants and agreed to do her job. We knew you could do it! Probably time for a nap now, and when you wake up, apple juice and Veggie Straws. Yay!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.