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George Bush congratulates Biden, urges Americans to ‘come together’

43rd US president calls the president-elect a ‘good man,’ praises Trump’s ‘extraordinary political achievement’ in winning 70 million votes

Former US president George W. Bush speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on March 1, 2017. (Mark Ralston/AFP)
Former US president George W. Bush speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on March 1, 2017. (Mark Ralston/AFP)

WASHINGTON — Former US president George W. Bush has offered his “warm congratulations” to President-elect Joe Biden, calling the Democrat “a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”

The two-term Republican, in a statement issued by his presidential center in Dallas, also congratulated loser Donald Trump for his “extraordinary political achievement” in winning 70 million votes.

Bush’s statement made him one of the country’s most prominent Republicans to acknowledge Biden’s victory, declared Saturday, and offer him congratulations.

His brother Jeb Bush — the former Florida governor who had himself aspired to the presidency until Trump grabbed the party’s nomination in 2016 — earlier sent Biden his own congrats.

“I will be praying for you and your success. Now is the time to heal deep wounds. Many are counting on you to lead the way,”

Former US president George W. Bush shakes hands with then vice president Joe Biden, after speaking during the dedication of phase 1 of the permanent Flight 93 National Memorial near the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, September 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Republican senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have also extended congratulations to Biden, while many other Republican officials are calling that premature, saying not all votes have yet been counted and not all challenges resolved.

Former president Bush agreed that Trump had “the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges.”

But he added: “The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”

Sounding a message of unity that echoed Biden’s own words, Bush added: “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.”

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