President Donald Trump has at last set the stage for leaving office in January by agreeing to work with President-elect Joe Biden on the transition, even as he stubbornly asserted that he would ultimately win.
Trump tweeted Monday evening that he was agreeing to cooperate with Biden in the “best interest of our country.”
The cooperation on transition will enable Biden, who has already begun designating key personnel for his cabinet and other senior-level jobs, to start work on January 20 when he will be sworn-in.
However, beneath his claim of magnanimity was Trump’s assertion that he would “prevail” in the November 3 election and reclaim the presidency.
The head of General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, wrote to Biden that her office which is in charge of facilitating the transition will cooperate with him.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
However, Murphy also wrote that she was acting “independently, based on the law and available facts” and was not pressured by the White House.
She had resisted authorizing intelligence briefings or providing information and access to the administration and offering funds and facilities for the transition because the results have not been formally declared and Trump had not conceded.
Biden will be formally elected December 14 by the members of the electoral college who were elected in the states.
Trump’s tweet and Murphy’s letter ended 16 days of suspense and chaos for the transition.
Biden had warned that “more people will get infected and die” from Covid-19 if the transition process was delayed and his incoming administration’s ability to counter the pandemic from Day One was hindered.
Biden transition’s executive director Yohannes Abraham welcomed the announcements calling them “a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”
Trump and his campaign have been challenging the election in courts, but so far without success.
On Friday, Georgia formally announced Biden the winner by 0.25 percent of the votes. Because of the tiny margin arrived at after a manual audit to count the votes, Trump can ask for a recount there.
Michigan declared Biden the winner on Monday, but Pennsylvania which had a deadline the same day was unlikely to meet it because some counties were not ready to certify the results.
In states such as New York, the counting is still continuing.
After the media declared Biden the winner, Trump has been facing pressure from the Democrats, the media and even some in his own party to concede defeat and get on with the transition.
Republicans like Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins have recognized Biden as the president-elect and criticized Trump’s refusal.
Many world leaders have also recognized Biden as the victor.
Trump, though, spiked his offer of cooperation with the claim: “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”
Trump has, however, polled more votes than he did in 2016.
Trump alleging fraud in the election and refusing to concede was “incredibly damaging” and it sends the world “a horrible message about who we are as a country,” Biden had said.