UPDATED: 6:13 p.m. ET, Nov. 23 —
Original story published Nov. 10:
The woman intentionally preventing a transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden‘s incoming administration was given a reality check by House Democrats on Monday after she asked if she could continue not doing her job’s crucial duties for another week. That prompted General Services Administration Administrator Emily W. Murphy to finally send Biden the “letter of ascertainment” that clears the way for the president-elect’s team to begin the necessary transition process.
Earlier in the day, Murphy, who is charged in part with facilitating a peaceful transfer of power from an out-going presidential administration to the incoming one, was told in no uncertain circumstances that she must brief House Democrats on the situation on Tuesday, period.
“Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris Administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security,” House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey and Reps. Gerry Connolly and Mike Quigley told Murphy in a letter Monday.
Murphy had looked to delay the briefing until next Monday, Nov. 30, Politico reported.
The letter was sent on the same day that Michigan’s state board of canvasers certified its election results with Biden winning.
It’s been more than two weeks since Biden was projected to win the presidential election, but Donald Trump has refused to concede, emboldening his most loyal minions — like Murphy — to do the same. But part of her job, as well as federal law, dictates she issue the requisite “letter of ascertainment” that clears the way for Biden’s team to begin the necessary transition process.
Biden’s incoming chief of staff has warned that any further delay in her doing so would also hold up the distribution of any coronavirus vaccine, an urgent prospect as the country braces for a strong second wave of Covid-19. It has all prompted a social media campaign to begin demanding Murphy sign the letter complete with a provocative video.
Of course, there’s an asterisk here that can’t be ignored: She was appointed by Trump’s administration — the same bunch backing a lame-duck president who has filed a flurry of frivolous lawsuits and ordered U.S. Attorney General William Barr to have the Department of Justice investigate his disingenuous and unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. (CNN reported that an official staffer who worked in the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section quit Tuesday morning, saying in an email that Barr’s orders were “abrogating the forty-year-old Non-Interference Policy for ballot fraud investigations in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested.” Translation: Trump’s claims are bogus, at best.)
Much like other instances that earn white women the distinction of being called Karen, Murphy is breaking the law. That violation was committed when she refused to perform a particular duty her job requires, according to the New York Times.
“By law, Ms. Murphy, the head of the sprawling agency that keeps the federal government functioning, must formally recognize Mr. Biden as the incoming president for his transition to begin,” the Times reported in a news story published Monday. “It has been three days since news organizations projected that he was the winner of the election, and Ms. Murphy has still not acted.”
Now it’s four days.
But again — just like with many of the Karen instances — punishment and accountability are frequently elusive for white women weaponizing their privilege. The same has, thus far, been true for Murphy despite her clear and very public violation of federal law.
Republican leaders (read: white men) have argued that the transfer of power wasn’t immediate in 2000 when that election was also referred to the legal system. But that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison as that election involved the unexpected technical X-factor of so-called hanging chads and dimpled chads on paper ballots. That election also involved an immediate concession after news outlets called the race.
In contrast, neither has occurred in 2020 and the votes are still being counted to further pad Biden’s confirmed and certified lead by tens of thousands of votes, a margin that history has shown is likely to barely change after mandatory recounts are performed.
Of course, Murphy’s defiance to perform the work required by her government position shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. She’s only following the lead of Trump and his presidency and underscoring why 55 percent of all white women voted for his re-election (an increase from 2016), thus also voting for all of his racism, hatred, misogyny and ignorance that comes along with it.
This is America.