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Biden and Harris forced to turn to well-wishers as Trump plays hard ball on transition

By Japheth Ogila | November 23rd 2020 at 10:04:02 GMT +0300

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris celebrating their lead after November 4 election. [Courtesy]

A transition team of US President-elect Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris has launched a fundraising drive to facilitate the transfer of power.

Citing the unwillingness of the incumbent Donald Trump to pass the power button, the group has re-examined its strategy to help Biden and Harris run the office from January 20, 2021. Mrs Harris decried Mr Trump’s refusal to concede as the stumbling block to the transition.

“Because Donald Trump refuses to concede the election, we have to fund the transition ourselves. Chip in whatever you can give to help fund the Biden-Harris transition,” she tweeted on Sunday, as she shared the link to the funds drive portal.

A persuasive and sorrowful message further beams from the portal as the team notes, “During these unusual times, your support is appreciated more than ever before. Your contribution to the Biden-Harris Transition will help us lay the foundation to lead a just and equitable recovery that builds an economy for the future. Thank you for your generosity and continued support as we prepare to build our nation back better.”

The team urges the well-wishers to chip in with Sh1500 to Sh500,000 donations to reinforce the transition plan.  

Republican sitting President Donald Trump has depicted unwillingness to change his stance that the election was rigged. On Sunday, Trump was handed a setback after a federal judge dismissed his suit against the electoral results in Pennsylvania. Reuters reported that Mathew Brann binned Trump’s suit on terming it as based on “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.”

Trump’s losing battle

That Biden has stretched 81,000 vote lead in Pennsylvania and topped by over 6 million majority vote complicates the math for Trump, who has also lost in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona recount.

Even though he holds firm and promises an appeal on the Pennsylvania case, legal minds in US spell doom on any further challenge by the incumbent.

“This should put the nail in the coffin on any further attempts by President Trump to use the federal courts to rewrite the outcome of the 2020 election,” said Kristen Clarke, the President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, as she spoke to Reuters.

Even though Biden has been active assembling a team with whom he will take over power next year, he has not hidden his displeasure at how Trump administration has frustrated his efforts for the transition. In his speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden read into Trump’s gestures and criticised him for refusing to concede adding that he risked soiling his one-term legacy.

On November 9, the Washington Post reported that the head of General Services Administration (GSA) Emily Murphy, an appointee of Trump administration was refusing to facilitate the transition. The US constitution mandates the administrator of the GSA to do the paperwork and transmit millions to the team of the winning candidate, as well as providing them with office spaces in various agencies among other logistics.

“America’s national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signalling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power,” Biden’s transition spokesperson said in an email.

Frustrated transition

The GSA developed cold feet on the matter even as the Center for Presidential Transition urged the Trump administration in a letter to honour the call.

“We urge the Trump administration to immediately begin the post-election transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the presidential transition act,” the body noted in a letter.

“This was a hard-fought campaign, but history is replete with examples of presidents who emerged from such campaigns to graciously assist their successors.”

The US Constitution stipulates in the Presidential Transition Act 2010 that the administrator must provide transition support to the president-elect.

The Act states: “In the case of an eligible candidate, the Administrator shall notify the candidate of the candidate’s right to receive the services and facilities described in paragraph (2) and shall provide with such notice a description of the nature and scope of each such service and facility...”

As per the dictates of the law, Joe Biden and Kamala would receive a financial boost of at least USD9.6 million (at least Sh960 million) to set up structures for running the government. Shalini Hicklin-Coorey notes in a blog post titled “The costs of presidential transition” that candidates are required by law to declare their privately raised finances to the government in advance.

If candidates plan to accept government support, they must disclose privately raised funds to the public, which are subject to a $5,000 (Sh540,000) per person limit.


US President Joe Biden Kamala Harris Transition
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