The day-to-day operations of the General Services Administration (GSA) often fly under the radar of public scrutiny, but that's changed in the wake of the 2020 election.
With President Donald Trump's continued refusal to acknowledge the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, GSA administrator Emily Murphy became one of the most consequential officials in United States government.
Murphy's job includes signing off on the paperwork that allocates resources like office space and funds for incoming Presidents to begin formulating a transition plan. Murphy's signature is required for the peaceful transition of power between Presidents to get underway.
But in deference to Trump, who appointed her, Murphy refused to sign this paperwork, delaying imperative transition resources and legitimizing lies that the victor of the presidential election is somehow still undetermined.
After Murphy didn't appear at a scheduled congressional briefing meant to elaborate on her decision, Trump announced that he'd instructed her to sign the necessary paperwork and let the transition commence.
He stopped short of officially conceding.
With Trump's permission, Murphy informed Biden in a letter that he would now have access to these crucial resources.
Throughout the lengthy letter, Murphy attempted to justify her decision to delay the commonplace yet imperative action, assuring Biden that "contrary to media reports and insinuations," she simply wanted to be sure Biden won the election.
It reads in part:
"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and the 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."
While those who acknowledge the integrity of the United States election process were pleased that Murphy finally began doing her job, the unnecessary delay had already marred her reputation—and the letter was largely derided.
Self-pitying, self-righteous, self-justifiying. but at least @GSAEmily has finally agreed to acknowledge an electio… https://t.co/63bR1r8yDG— Anne Applebaum (@Anne Applebaum)1606174657.0
the last four years have made me wonder if narcissism is an infectious disease https://t.co/nLp9PXcxfA— George Conway (@George Conway)1606181398.0
Very Karen-esque. https://t.co/qVE8yqXzxN— Soledad O'Brien (@Soledad O'Brien)1606183020.0
This letter is wildly unprofessional and the defensive tone underscores how entirely inappropriate her actions have… https://t.co/hlj3dN4xGT— Matt McDermott (@Matt McDermott)1606173477.0
I (naively!) figured if she was formally kicking off the transition she'd be superficially professional, but this l… https://t.co/VFjFSZzmlR— Paul Smith (@Paul Smith)1606177579.0
Notably, Murphy didn't refer to Biden as the President-elect.
Pretty bizarre for Murphy to a) not call the president-elect the president-elect and b) reference the threats she's… https://t.co/6Iai6JW0uC— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1606173479.0
Note what this letter doesn't say. @GSAEmily has ascertained that Biden is the "apparent winner" of the election an… https://t.co/puAr25eJW5— Arieh Kovler (@Arieh Kovler)1606173110.0
This remarkably defensive letter avoids describing Biden as the "apparent winner" of the election or the "president… https://t.co/NuI9poYwIj— Kate Shaw (@Kate Shaw)1606173439.0
Trump continues to insist, with no small degree of delusion, that he will end up winning the 2020 election.