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Photo: Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush issued a statement on Sunday congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their election victory.

Why it matters: Every living president has now congratulated Biden and acknowledged the outcome of the election, even as President Trump refuses to concede and continues to lodge unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

  • Bush addressed the American people directly in his statement and voiced his support for the new administration, while acknowledging that Trump has the right to "request recounts and pursue legal challenges."
  • But the former Republican president added: "The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear."

Full statement:

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. 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 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 I can.
I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard-fought campaign. 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.
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. 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 clear.
The challenges that face our country will demand the best of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris — and the best of us all. We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future. 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.
— George W. Bush

Go deeper

Murkowski: "It is time to begin the full and formal transition process"

Murkowski leaves the Senate Republicans lunch in September. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) tweeted Sunday, "It is time to begin the full and formal transition process." She called Trump's attempts to overturn President-elect Biden's win "inconsistent with our democratic process."

Why it matters: Only a handful of congressional Republicans have acknowledged Biden as president-elect as Trump and his campaign continue unsuccessful legal challenges in key swing states.

23 hours ago - World

NZ's Jacinda Ardern becomes the latest world leader to congratulate Biden

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has become the latest world leader to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden in a phone call, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is still refusing to acknowledge the U.S. election win.

Driving the news: Biden's transition team said in a statement late Sunday he "expressed his intent to strengthen the U.S.-New Zealand partnership" and looked forward to working closely on challenges including containing COVID-19, tackling climate change and "reinforcing multilateralism."

GOP Sen. Rob Portman says Biden transition funds should be released

Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) wrote in an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer that while he supports legal checks on the 2020 presidential election, the General Services Administration should provide the funds and infrastructure for a Biden transition to begin.

Why it matters: Portman was a co-chair of Trump's re-election campaign in Ohio and rarely steps out of line with party leadership. He wrote in the op-ed that "there is no evidence as of now of any widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the result in any state."