Former first lady Michelle Obama weighed in on President Trump and his administration’s refusal allow the transition to move forward, writing in an Instagram post, “I want to urge all Americans, especially our nation’s leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history.”
The Trump White House has insisted the election results are still in doubt, and as a result, is neither sharing information with President-elect Joe Biden nor enabling the federal government transition processes to begin. Members of previous Democratic and Republican administrations alike have criticized the move, especially amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic. Even Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, General John Kelly, has called for Mr. Trump to participate in the transition process.
In her post, which showed the Obamas departing Washington on Inauguration Day, Obama wrote that she was “hurt and disappointed” by the election results in 2016, but “my husband and I instructed our staffs to do what George and Laura Bush had done for us: run a respectful, seamless transition of power—one of the hallmarks of American democracy.”
She recalled that her anger at Mr. Trump did not stop her from welcoming the Trumps to the White House during his transition.
“Donald Trump had spread racist lies about my husband that had put my family in danger,” Obama wrote. “That wasn’t something I was ready to forgive. But I knew that, for the sake of our country, I had to find the strength and maturity to put my anger aside. So I welcomed Melania Trump into the White House and talked with her about my experience, answering every question she had — from the heightened scrutiny that comes with being First Lady to what it’s like to raise kids in the White House.”
“I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do—because our democracy is so much bigger than anybody’s ego,” Obama continued. “Our love of country requires us to respect the results of an election even when we don’t like them or wish it had gone differently—the presidency doesn’t belong to any one individual or any one party. To pretend that it does, to play along with these groundless conspiracy theories—whether for personal or political gain—is to put our country’s health and security in danger.”
The General Service Administration must “ascertain” the winner of the election so millions in funding can be released for the transition, as well as office space and the authority to receive some classified briefings. CBS News reported last week that the Biden-Harris transition team was considering pursuing legal action if the head of the federal agency overseeing the mechanics of a transfer of power doesn’t move in the coming days to free up funding and access to agencies.
Mr. Biden has said that the transition process can continue without Mr. Trump’s help, and he has begun to consider senior staff appointments for when he takes office on January 20. He has already named Ron Klain as his chief of staff.