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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

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."