Former GSA chief: 'Clear' that Biden should be recognized as president-elect

Former General Services Administration (GSA) chief David Barram said Thursday that it’s “clear” that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenManufacturers association calls on GSA to begin transition process Biden vote tally getting close to 80 million AOC, progressive Dems attack corporate greed during health care discussion MORE should be officially recognized as the winner of the presidential election.

“To me, it’s clear that we should be recognizing Joe Biden as the president-elect,” Barram, who was the GSA administrator during the 2000 recount in Florida, told CNN’s “New Day.”

Barram, who was appointed by former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonSarah Paulson: Playing Linda Tripp is ‘more complicated than anything else’ I’ve ever done Democracy at risk? Folks, that’s a bunch of malarkey Biden draws from campaign to fill key White House roles MORE, said he spoke with Trump-appointed GSA Administrator Emily Murphy before the election in a “very cordial conversation” in which she asked about his experience in 2000. 


He told CNN on Thursday that the 2000 and 2020 elections are “dramatically different.” In 2000, then-Republican nominee George W. Bush and Democratic nominee Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreDemocratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition Bush’s 2000 recount team: Trump has no path to win Trump national security adviser vows ‘professional transition’ of power MORE were 535 votes apart in Florida, he said.

“It was whoever won Florida would win the election,” he said. “And that’s all we were dealing with. And so it was not settled in Florida, and it was clearly not settled in Florida until the Supreme Court ruled. And then when the Supreme Court ruled, Al Gore immediately conceded.”

Biden, however, is tens of thousands of votes ahead in several battleground states and is expected to win the Electoral College with 306 electoral votes compared to Trump’s 232 — the same margin the president won by in 2016. 

Barram also pointed out that The Associated Press had not called the election in 2000 but now the AP “and everybody else in the world” except for Trump has declared Biden the winner. 

He said he was “very sympathetic” to Murphy, who has declined to recognize Biden as the president-elect as Trump has falsely claimed victory and promoted unfounded allegations of voter fraud. 


“It’s a tough spot to be in,” he said. “I just think she has to finally come to a decision and like I say, I’m sympathetic for her. I think it will make everything work when she finally does.”

Murphy’s lack of ascertainment of Biden as the victor in the election leaves the president-elect’s team in limbo to transition to the White House. Without the certification, Biden and his team do not have access to federal agencies, intelligence briefings or federal funding for salaries and travel. 

Barram specifically criticized Republican lawmakers and administration officials who have been hesitant to declare Biden the president-elect and have requested the court cases go through the system first.  

“These Republican senators and Cabinet members who are letting Emily sit out there twisting in the wind strike me as not courageous,” he said. “They’re being not courageous in asking her to be courageous. It’s just not right. She cannot avoid the responsibility that’s hers to ascertain. But it sure would be better for a lot of us if she had a lot more cover.”

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