Former U.S. President George W. Bush, a Republican, said on Sunday he has spoken to President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, to congratulate him on his victory.
In a statement, Bush said Americans can have confidence the U.S. election was “fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”
He added President Donald Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges.
This across-the-aisles gesture from the only living former Republican president is seen as much needed by commentators, given the attitude of rancor and division that plagued Washington for the majority of Trump’s presidency, and which became vociferous during the House-led impeachment trial of early 2020 and the Senate-led confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020.
Bush was joined by leaders and heads of state from across the world to welcome Biden to the presidency.
A continuing voice of dissent was Trump himself, taking to Twitter Sunday afternoon and continuing to allege that the vote was marked by fraud.
Earlier this week Bush, the 43rd American president, refrained from telling the media who he had voted for in this year’s election, stating that he had “retired from presidential politics.” In the 2016 presidential election, Bush famously left his ballot blank when presented with the choice between Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton.