George W. Bush congratulates Joe Biden on 2020 election: 'We must come together'

The former president addressed that while he has political differences with the president-elect, he believes Biden has the opportunity to unify the country.
/ Source: TODAY

Former President George W. Bush released a statement extending his congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris following their projected win on Saturday.

In his statement, Bush, 74, revealed that he had called Biden to give his "warm congratulations" and thank him for his "patriotic message" delivered in his speech the previous night. Bush also called Harris to congratulate her on "her historic election."

“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," the statement read. “The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. 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 that I can.”

While Bush has not formally endorsed any presidential candidates since leaving office, the former president has recently called for unity, including a poignant message regarding the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year in May.

“I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard-fought campaign,” the statement continued. “He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans – an extraordinary political achievement. They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government.”

Despite the divisiveness of the election, Bush made a point to note the positives of both candidate's runs.

“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,” he wrote. “No matter how you voted, your vote counted. President Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, and any unresolved issues will be properly adjudicated. The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”

Bush and Biden during a meeting on July 25, 2001 at the White House.Mike Theiler / AFP via Getty Images

He continued, stating that “the challenges that face our county will demand the best” of Biden and Harris, as well as us all.

“We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future,” he concluded his statement. “There is no problem that will not yield to the gathered will of a free people. Laura and I pray for our leaders and their families. We ask for God’s continued blessings on our country. And we urge all Americans to join us in wishing our next President and Vice President well as they prepare to take up their important duties.”

Biden, 77, officially became the president-elect on Saturday with 279 Electoral College votes, according to projections made by NBC News. He also won the popular vote and set a record for most votes for any presidential candidate in the history of the United States.

President Trump has not conceded to Biden and intends to pursue legal action instead, saying in a campaign statement, “This election is far from over.”

On Saturday night, Biden and Harris addressed the country for the first time since winning the election, delivering their victory speeches outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware.

Following Harris' speech, Biden spoke directly to Americans who voted for President Trump’s re-election, saying, "I understand your disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of times myself. But now let’s give each other a chance."

"To make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They are Americans," he said, emphasizing the call for unity, later adding, “This is the time to heal in America.”