Former President George W. Bush congratulated Joe Biden for winning the 2020 election, but also said that “President Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges.”
The former President is obviously no stranger to pursuing legal challenges in a contested election.
Bush said Sunday in a statement that he had congratulated Biden by phone.
In states where the vote difference had smaller margins, the election has been too close to call and legal pursuits by Team Trump are still being addressed.
Nevertheless, Bush, who famously challenged the results of the 2000 election for over a month, congratulated Biden.
Former President Bush said, “I just talked to the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden. I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night.”
“I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency,” Bush said.
Bush offered a conciliatory message.
“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said.
The former Republican president then further praised the 2020 Democratic nominee.
“The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans,” Bush insisted.
“I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.”
“I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard-fought campaign,” Bush added.
“He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans – an extraordinary political achievement,” the Republican added.
“They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government.”
But Bush also correctly noted that President Trump and his team have every right to pursue legal action to ensure and protect the integrity of the election.
Bush said, “The fact that so many of our fellow citizens participated in this election is a positive sign of the health of our democracy and a reminder to the world of its strength.”
“No matter how you voted, your vote counted,” he added.
The former president said (emphasis added), “President Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, and any unresolved issues will be properly adjudicated.”
Still, Bush claimed that Biden is, already, the real winner.
Bush added (emphasis added), “The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”
This is similar to what President Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Saturday.
Mulvaney wrote, “Two things: 1) We need to litigate this election so that people know that the winner is really the winner; 2) If he loses — which as I’ve pointed out here many times is still a long way from being determined — the President will be Presidential.”
Trump is famously not a fan of the 43rd President.
He made the foreign policy of the Bush era a major centerpiece of his first campaign, and has worked to undo it as President.
While campaigning in 2016, President Trump repeatedly attacked Bush for the Iraq War, and accused him of lying about weapons of mass destruction.
At the Presidential debate in South Carolina in 2016, Trump said, “You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”
The Atlantic makes the case that Bush, although more subtly, is not the biggest fan of President Trump.
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