First Draft uses cookies to distinguish you from other users of our website. They allow us to recognise users over multiple visits, and to collect basic data about your use of the website. Cookies help us provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allows us to improve our site. Check our cookie policy to read more. Cookie Policy.

Biden transition announcement stirs up false coercion claims

General Services Administration (GSA) head Emily Murphy announced Monday that the Trump administration has cleared the way for the Joe Biden transition. The news was closely followed by President Donald Trump’s tweet confirming his recommendation for Murphy to “…do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols… .”

Murphy, who has been criticized for blocking the transition process, became a target across the political spectrum. Some social media users called for her resignation, lobbing accusations of treason and sedition in two posts that received at least 1,500 shares together.

Other users focused on the apparent inconsistencies in the two statements, namely that Murphy claimed to have come to her decision independently, seemingly contradicting the claim Trump instructed her to make the announcement. Other social media users, particularly Trump supporters posting on alternative platforms such as Gab and Parler, dismissed the significance of the GSA call. “The GSA thing doesn’t matter. It basically releases funds to the ‘presumed’ winner. It’s like a tap, and it can be shut off if, for instance, the ‘presumed’ winner were to suddenly shift,” wrote one user on Gab.

Users on the TheDonald.win, a forum of pro-Trump accounts that migrated from Reddit in 2019, made unfounded allegations that Murphy’s letter was the result of coercion from “the left,” tying it to false “antifa coup” narratives. Trump appeared to walk back his original tweet, posting on Tuesday that “…the GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be.”

Murphy’s announcement, and Trump’s followup, came amid rising pressure from Democrats, Republican officials and business leaders for the president to concede. The calls have intensified amid Trump’s legal defeats around numerous unevidenced voter fraud lawsuits in battleground states that went for Biden. — Yevgeny Kuklychev