As The Washington Post reports, Murphy is “marking time” as she refuses to name Joe Biden as the winner, or answer questions from Congress. Since Murphy won’t talk herself, it has fallen to other people to speculate about what “milepost” Murphy might be considering before she makes the call.
Is she waiting for states to certify? 15 of them already have done so, including Wisconsin and Georgia. Is she waiting for the lawsuits to be over? Trump’s team has lost in court 33 times (as of Friday evening) and there are more than enough states with no remaining lawsuits to call the election for Biden.
One suggestion is that Murphy is waiting for the official call from the Electoral College. However, that won’t come until December 14. And even that is not a guarantee. Trump is almost certain to dispute the Electoral College vote, meaning that Murphy may not move until Congress counts the votes on Jan. 6. And that’s assuming she moves then. She could easily just sit in smug silence until Biden names her replacement, who then shows her the exit.
It’s not Murphy’s job to actually name the winner of the election. It’s her job to provide federal funds to the transition team that allow a smooth and efficient transition for the upcoming administration. In past elections, these funds have been released immediately once the outcome became obvious. The only year in which there was any significant delay was in 2000, when people genuinely did not know who would be sitting behind the Resolute Desk on Jan. 21. Even in that case, the funds were released immediately after the Supreme Court made its ruling, rather than waiting for the actual Electoral College vote.
Like many other Republican officials, Murphy is enjoying the fact that all she has to do to win Donald Trump’s fickle approval—and the cheers of the mob—is nothing. Just … nothing.
Of course, this means she’ll be going to her family Thanksgiving knowing that her intransigence will be directly responsible for empty chairs next year, when families left devastated by loss that could have been prevented by a more efficient transition, come together to mourn. Right now, Murphy’s refusal to do the right thing is making her a hero for the morally repugnant, but give it time. Her name will still be remembered, but no one will be cheering.