Former President George W. Bush said Sunday that he has extended congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on winning the 2020 presidential election, breaking with prominent members of his party in the process.
In a statement released by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the 43rd president said he is optimistic that Biden will help bring the country together.
"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 in a statement. "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."
Bush also acknowledged President Donald Trump's intent to challenge the election results on allegations of massive voter fraud, which thus far have proven to be baseless.
"President Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, and any unresolved issues will be properly adjudicated," Bush said. "The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear."
By issuing congratulations to Biden, Bush — the only former Republican president currently living — has broken with the majority of top Republicans currently serving in government. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have not yet publicly acknowledged Biden as President-elect, and several other prominent Republicans have publicly refused to declare Biden the victor despite projections from most major media outlets.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan are among the few Republicans who have acknowledged Biden's projected victory.
"We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future," Bush said.
Bush also congratulated America as a whole for setting records in voter turnout. Biden and Trump both received more votes in the 2020 election than any other presidential candidate in previous elections.
"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," Bush said. "No matter how you voted, your vote counted."