A vindictive Trump seeks to undermine Biden’s presidency

Any thoughts Trump might have had of overturning the election were a failed enterprise from the start. On Friday, those hopes were dealt twin blows when Georgia’s secretary of state certified Biden as the winner there and Republican legislative leaders from Michigan, after meeting with the president, signaled they would do nothing to try to undermine the results. Biden has an electoral college majority, and the certification process continues to gather steam.

Through these weeks, the president and his legal team have failed to produce credible evidence of systematic or widespread fraud. Now they are resorting to wild allegations of a grand conspiracy on the part of Biden and the Democrats — charges repeatedly debunked. This effort is being led by Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was once a reputable mayor of New York. These claims of fraud are in themselves a fraudulent and cynical enterprise.

Judging by his actions, Trump appears to have a motive other than overturning the election. He is determined to cripple Biden’s presidency even before it becomes official. No defeated president has ever undertaken such an audacious and anti-democratic act. There are short-term and longer-term consequences that could deeply affect Biden’s ability to govern.

Trump has thrown up immediate obstacles to the Biden transition. Without an official ascertainment from Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, Biden and his team have been denied necessary transition funding and access to the government departments and agencies they will soon inherit.

This is a mean-spirited effort on the part of the president to gum up what should be an orderly, nonpartisan process. Even absent the GSA stamp of approval, Biden is proceeding ahead with what experts say are the most important priorities of the transition period: building a new government and sketching out legislative priorities to have a quick start in office.

Biden has already designated many of the most senior members of his White House staff, a critically important set of decisions that assures he will have a team in place and already operating when he is sworn in. He also has begun to settle on his Cabinet: Last week, Biden said he has picked his treasury secretary and will unveil that person — and perhaps other Cabinet appointees — just before or after Thanksgiving.

Access to the agencies, while necessary, is not that crucial at this point, according to several people who have gone through past…

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