General Services Admin Puts Presidential Transition On Hold For Trump Temper Tantrum
Whodathunk that putting a former RNC staffer in charge of a major government agency would lead to partisan fuckery?
Oh, everyone? Well, yeah, fair.
The Washington Post reports that the head of the General Services Administration (GSA), Emily Murphy, is gumming up the works for the presidential transition. You pay her salary, and part of her job is to sign off on the process to release $9.9 million in transition funds, free up office space in federal buildings, and begin security clearance and Office of Government Ethics (OGE) background checks for future Biden administration employees.
But Donald Trump is all up in his feelings about the election and refuses to accept the results. So naturally Administrator Murphy can't do her damn job and sign off yet.
Every other administration has managed to do it expeditiously and without a fuss, except for in 2000 when the race was legitimately contested for weeks. George W. Bush's GSA head called Obama's transition team at 1 a.m. on November 5 to inform him that he'd activated transition resources.
And Obama's team initiated the transition on November 9, 2016, the day after the election. Yes, even as votes were still being counted. Because Hillary Clinton didn't lie on the floor and whine about bullshit claims of voter fraud.
A few hours after the 2008 election was called, the Bush administration sent this letter to me in my capacity as ex… https://t.co/hjzxLKfbjY— Chris Lu (@Chris Lu)1604776031.0
Trump has clearly lost the election, despite his various flaccid claims of electoral fraud. And yet the GSA is stonewalling. "An ascertainment has not yet been made," GSA spokeswoman Pamela Pennington told the Post, "and its Administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law."
We're in the middle of an unemployment crisis and a pandemic that is killing 1,000 Americans every day, and we have to wait for some Republican hack to "ascertain" whether the guy who got the most votes — and the most electoral college votes! — is the winner? With this morning's news that Pfizer has a coronavirus vaccine, the Biden team will need to hit the ground running with a plan to get it out to Americans as expeditiously and fairly as possible. And still Mary Gilbert, the head of the transition team at GSA, told her colleagues in a call Friday that Biden's people were barred from the buildings until President Babyshits works through his grief at being rejected by the American people.
"No agency head is going to get out in front of the president on transition issues right now," a senior administration source told the Post, predicting that Trump would do his damnedest to prevent any transition activities.
Robert C. MacKichan Jr., who served as GSA's general counsel under Presidents Reagan and Poppy Bush, predicted that Administrator Murphy would do her job fairly and without partisanship.
"As an attorney and as a procurement official, I think she has the highest standard of integrity," he told the Post.
Would that it were so! But if past is prologue, Murphy is far from averse to a little partisan hackery at the behest of President Pancake Makeup. Although Murphy hadn't been confirmed when the GSA declared that allowing Trump to maintain his Emoluments Palace Hotel on federal property in DC was totally kosher, she failed to track foreign payments at the hotel and stonewalled congressional requests to determine whether other countries were buying up blocks of rooms in an attempt to curry favor with the president. And she's the one that shitcanned the long-planned sale of the FBI building across the street from Trump's hotel to shift the agency to a location outside DC that could be hardened to prevent terrorist attack, even going so far as to omit the proceeds of the sale of the property from calculations that concluded the move would be economically unfeasible.
Murphy told Congress she'd never discussed the FBI building with the president, despite the fact that allowing a competitor hotel to be developed across the street from his property would adversely affect his economic interests, but an Inspector General's report was highly skeptical of that assertion.
Would the president use the power of the federal government to protect his own bottom line? NO HE NEVER! Oh, well, except that he went to the mat trying to get $1.5 billion to start the FBI building rehab into the Covid relief bill, ensuring that the project would be underway in a future Biden term. In the event, even Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham refused to play along with that one.
So you can color us highly skeptical that Emily Murphy is going to run this transition with anything approaching "integrity." It's been four years of partisan hackery — why would she stop now?
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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.