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How does Emily Murphy sleep at night?
Dick Polman

More than two weeks since being named President-elect, Joe Biden is anxious to plan as best he can to save the lives of as many Americans as possible. Yet, oh so predictably, we still have a Trump apparatchik gumming up the works.

How does Emily Murphy sleep at night, knowing that every day she refuses to launch the presidential transition with a stroke of the pen, she makes it more difficult for the incoming Biden team to fully weaponize its war against the worst pandemic in 102 years?

Murphy heads the General Services Administration, and it’s her job to sign off on what Biden needs -namely, $6.3 million in public and private money that’s earmarked for the transition team, federal office space and equipment, and, most importantly, access to the insiders who are handling threats to the American people at home (the pandemic) and abroad. 

But alas, as CNN reports: “Murphy is struggling with the weight of the presidential election being dropped on her shoulders, feeling like she’s been put in a no-win situation, according to people who have spoken to her recently.”

Where’s my violin?

The only reason she’s “struggling” with a “no-win situation” is because she’s terrified of ticking off the authoritarian toddler who gave her the job. The toddler doesn’t care whether Biden gets up to speed on the pandemic, or whether more Americans die needlessly. He’s too busy sucking on his Twitter binky, thumbing inanities about how he “won this election, by a lot!”

Murphy has gotten the message, and that clearly trumps her duty to follow the law. That’s how things work in a cult.

According to the federal statutes, it’s the GSA administrator’s job to ascertain “the apparent successful candidates for the office of President and Vice President.” That ascertainment is a slam dunk. 

Biden is on track to win 306 electoral votes, with no evidence whatsoever that his win will be reversed. His combined winning margin in the pivotal Rustbelt states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania) is now three times larger than Trump’s winning margin in those states, and Biden’s 51 percent share of the popular vote is bigger than 9 of the last 15 winners, including JFK’s in 1960 and Ronald Reagan’s in 1980. 

But because Murphy remains fixated on her bat-crazy boss’ bat signal, she’s clearly deaf to what sane Americans are saying. Walter Shaub, ex-director of the federal Office of Government Ethics, writes: “Expertise will carry the Biden-Harris transition team for a while, but there are limits to what can be done (on the pandemic) without then government’s cooperation if Murphy remains obstinate.” And four ex-leaders of Homeland Security - two Republicans, two Democrats - are pleading with Murphy to act in the national interest: “At this period of heightened risk for our nation, we do not have a single day to spare to begin the transition.”

The business community is weighing in as well. Tom Donahue, longtime Republican insider and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has issued a statement: “President-elect Biden and the team around him have a wealth of executive branch experience that should allow them to hit the ground running...(F)or the sake of Americans’ safety and well-being, (Trump’s regime) should not delay the transition a moment longer.”

And the National Association of Manufacturers, citing the public health crisis and the need to ensure the efficient distribution of vaccines, released this statement yesterday: “It is highly appropriate that the Trump administration allow key individuals from the Biden team to access critical government personnel and information now...We call on the administrator of the General Services Administration to sign the letter of ascertainment immediately so that this consistent process in American democracy can begin and the exchange of critical information can commence.”

How tragic it is - how predictable - that the narcissistic loser of this election is holding American lives hostage, and that a key flunky in a key post continues to abet him. In 2017, when Murphy testified at her confirmation hearing, she said her sole goal was to make government “more efficient, effective, and responsive to the American people...I am not here to garner headlines or make a name for myself.”

Too late. But if she wants to salvage her name at this late hour, she’ll shred the MAGA armband and be truly responsive to the American people. Because in this election, the people have spoken.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at