A growing group of Republican senators on Monday signaled support for allowing President-elect Joe Biden to start the transition as the General Services Administration informed Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal process.
The GOP transition support – from Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana – paired with the GSA letter, amount to a considerable turning point against President Donald Trump’s bid to overturn his loss after Michigan officials moved to certify the state’s electoral votes for Biden.
“The presidential election is rapidly coming to a formal end,” Alexander, who is retiring, said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Recounts are being completed. Courts are resolving disputes. Most states will certify their votes by December 8. Since it seems apparent that Joe Biden will be the president-elect, my hope is that President Trump will take pride in his considerable accomplishments, put the country first and have a prompt and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed.”
“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” he said.
Capito said in her own statement that the time had come for Biden to begin “receiving all appropriate briefings” for a transfer of power.
“If states certify the results as they currently stand, Vice President Joe Biden will be our next president and Senator Kamala Harris will be our next vice president,” she said.
That message was echoed by Cassidy, who said in a statement posted to Twitter, “I voted for President Trump but Joe Biden won.”
“With Michigan’s certifying it’s (sic) results, Joe Biden has over 270 electoral college votes. President Trump’s legal team has not presented evidence of the massive fraud which would have had to be present to overturn the election,” he said.
The transition, Cassidy added, “should begin for the sake of the country.”
The senators join a number of other Republicans – including Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan and Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – who have publicly signaled their support for a formal presidential transition process.
Since CNN and other outlets called the election for Biden weeks ago, Trump has refused to accept the results, instead pushing baseless conspiracies that his second term is being stolen and launching a legal effort to overturn results.
The GSA letter Monday was the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge Trump’s defeat, more than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner in the election.
Administrator Emily 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.” However, Trump said in a tweet that the decision was taken at his recommendation.
“I have been clear that President Trump – like any candidate for office – has the right to request recounts and to raise legal claims before our courts,” Capito said Monday.
“However, at some point, the 2020 election must end.”
This story has been updated with additional developments on Monday.