Former President George W. Bush congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, on Sunday while also noting that President Trump has a right to legal challenges.
Mr. Bush also congratulated Mr. Trump on earning more than 70 million votes in the election, which he called an “extraordinary political achievement, and acknowledged the sitting president has a right to legal challenges.
“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 is election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear,” he wrote.
The former president joined a handful of Republicans calling for unity after a contentious, drawn-out election process.
“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,” Mr. Bush, the 43rd president, said in a statement.
He also acknowledged Ms. Harris’ “historic election” as the first woman, Black, and South Asian vice president.
Mr. Bush’s comments come as the GOP is divided over the contentious election process, with President Trump and many of his supporters in the party contesting that Mr. Biden is the projected winner and claiming there was widespread voter fraud.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, are among the Republicans who have acknowledged Mr. Biden as the president-elect.
Other prominent Republicans, like Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, haven’t endorsed a Biden victory, but have said it’s time to begin considering that Mr. Trump lost.