Donald Trump, the outgoing president of the United States, has finally authorised the commencement of the transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden. This comes weeks after alleging fraud in the November 3 election.
Mr Trump on Monday said his administration would cooperate with Mr Biden’s transition team but vowed to continue contesting the election result.
The president said on Twitter he had recommended that the General Services Administration, the federal agency overseeing the transition, to “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols”.
“In the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same,” Mr Trump said.
Earlier, the agency said it had acknowledged Mr Biden as the “apparent winner” after Michigan officially certified Mr Biden’s victory.
This followed calls from Republican senators and business leaders for the president to concede his defeat after losing lawsuits of an election fraud in some states.
“The president must put the country first and help Mr Biden succeed.
“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” a retiring Republican Senator Lamar Alexander told Al Jazeera.
More than 160 business leaders had asked the GSA in an open letter to immediately recognise Mr Biden as president-elect.
“Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,″ they said in the letter.
The head of the GSA, Emily Murphy, said in a letter on Monday to Mr Biden that she was releasing funds for his transition.
Murphy had come under fire from Democrats and other critics, who accused her of allowing political influence to interfere in the agency’s independence.
Defending her decision in the letter to Biden, the GSA head denied being influenced by the White House or official of the executive branch of government.
“I have dedicated much of my adult life to public service, and I have always strived to do what is right.
“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts.
“I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” she said.
In his tweet, Trump said, “I want to thank Emily Murphy at GSA for her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our country.
“She has been harassed, threatened, and abused – and I do not want to see this happen to her, her family, or employees of GSA.”
“Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”
With the announcement from the GSA, Mr Biden now has access to top security briefings, office space and government officials as he prepares to take office on 20 January, BBC reported.
His transition website has been changed to a US government domain.
The Biden campaign said the decision was “a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track”.
The president-elect has since begun announcing people he wants in his cabinet.
Earlier on Monday, Mr Biden unveiled his nominations for his foreign policy and national security team. But the appointments will be confirmed by the Senate.