Emily Murphy has blood on her hands.
That is very harsh and I don’t say it lightly. But a review of the facts reveals that assertion to be inescapable.
Ms. Murphy is the administrator of the General Services Administration (“GSA”) and, by virtue of that position, the person tasked with formally “ascertaining” the winner of the presidential election. As most of America, the world and parts of Mars now knows, her signature on the documents of ascertainment is what triggers the start of the presidential transition. Emily Murphy’s “John Hancock” (or “Emily Murphy” depending how she spells it) allows President-Elect Biden to access funds for his transition. It allows him to take over transition-related office space and allows his team to begin to interact with Trump’s team to get updates, briefings, access to confidential information and plans for things like ongoing military conflicts and vaccine distribution.
Yet Ms. Murphy, a Trump appointee, has been unbudging in refusing to ascertain that Joe Biden has won the election.
President-Elect Biden has indicated that the fact that we do not have a normal transition process is going to cause, among other things, a delay in the distribution of the various COVID vaccines that are becoming available in the near future. This, at a time when we are exceeding 200,000 new cases and 2,000 each and every day, and when we see the following headlines in today’s newspapers:
Lexington Herald Leader — Kentucky sets Staggeringly High new Record for Coronavirus Cases
The Arizona Republic — Test Lines Stretch as Virus Spreads
The Hartford Courant — State Deaths Increase in Pace
The Times Picayune — Time has Run Out…on Aggressive Spread
It is no exaggeration to say that every day there is a delay in responding to the COVID outbreak or distributing a vaccine is a day of people dying needlessly. And it is undeniable that Ms. Murphy’s inaction is causing those delays.
Some commentators, while acknowledging the obvious, have expressed a measure of sympathy for Ms. Murphy, saying that she is “between a rock and a hard-place” and “in a no-win situation”. While it is reasonable to feel bad for an innocent bureaucrat dealing with an impossible situation, that is simply not the case here. Ms. Murphy is the sole official tasked with ascertaining the election results. She answers to nobody. She has no superior who could make the decision instead of her. This is her job. And while she may find the position she is currently in uncomfortable, she was not required to take, and is not required to keep this job. She could be an astronaut, or work for the My-Pillow guy, or find some job that combines the two, like bringing the My-Pillow into space.
Further, she can not credibly claim that it is still unclear who has won the election. Joe Biden has won the national popular vote by a greater percentage than many of modern presidents, To wit:
Biden Margin of victory 2020–3.85% (and growing)
JFK 1960 — .17%
Richard Nixon 1968 — .6%
Jimmy Carter 1976–2.7%
George W. Bush 2000 — negative .49%
George W. Bush 2004–2.4%
Donald Trump 2016 — negative 2.6%
Yet none of these elections saw any hesitancy on the part of the GSA to immediately ascertain the winner, with the exception of the 2000 Bush v. Gore election. In that case, there were 36 days of litigation which delayed ascertainment, but that was an election which came down to one state (Florida) with an election night difference of 537 votes in a state where 6 million votes were cast. There was also a clear issue that needed to be resolved involving “hanging chads” (if you don’t already know, you don’t want to).
In terms of the Electoral College, Biden has won 306 of the 270 he needs, This is the exact number of Electoral Votes that Trump received in 2016, causing him to proclaim himself the winner in a “landslide”, and a “tremendous victory nobody has ever seen the likes of before”, and “Much bigger than George Washington’s unanimous victory”.(It is Trump after all). But that’s not all. Other indicia of a Biden victory include:
= All networks and news outlets, including conservative ones, have called the election for Joe Biden
= Every single Democrat in Congress has acknowledged Biden as the winner
= Numerous Republicans in Congress who supported Trump have acknowledged Biden as the winner.
= Virtually every foreign leader has congratulated Biden on winning the election (Still waiting to hear from you Vlad!)
= 33 out of 34 lawsuits filed by Trump to challenge aspects of the election have been dismissed, the one exception being a case from Pennsylvania which affects few votes.
= Trump’s remaining claims, even if successful, wouldn’t change enough votes to change the outcome
= Contested states run by Republicans are certifying Biden’s win, the latest being Georgia yesterday
There is simply no legitimate basis for Ms. Murphy to refuse to ascertain Biden’s victory. And by “legitimate” I am excluding insane conspiracy theories involving Hugo Chavez, the Communists, Antifa the media, and Republican elected officials (yes, this is all part of one giant conspiracy offered by Trump’s attorneys!). Nor does “legitimate basis” include the ALL CAPS, WELL PUNCTUATED!!!! tweets of Captain Queeg in the White House. If a president can block his elected successor from access to vital resources and information simply because he or she doesn’t like the result, then democracy becomes a cruel joke.
So it is time to stop pretending that Ms. Murphy is acting in good faith, or that she is somehow an innocent cog in a bigger wheel. She is the wheel, and her actions are going to kill people.