Former President George W. Bush congratulates Joe Biden: “He is a good man who has earned this opportunity”

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George W. Bush, the last Republican president before the arrival of Donald Trump, congratulated Joe Biden as president-elect this Sunday after the projection of results on Saturday: “Although we have political differences, I know that Joe Biden is a good man who he has won the opportunity to unite and lead our country ”. The former president’s statement would be just a courtesy in any other election, and not particularly relevant. But Bush spread his congratulations as Republican leaders on Capitol Hill chanted Trump’s conspiracy theory that his election was stolen. At noon on Sunday, Bush was the most important Republican in the United States to end the elections.

“I just spoke with the president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden,” begins the statement, sent to the media on Sunday at 11:30, Dallas time (18:30 in mainland Spain), where Bush has his residence. “I have given you my congratulations and I have thanked you for the patriotic message you gave last night [por el sábado]. I have also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election as vice president, ”he said. Bush also stressed that “the president-elect has reiterated that, although he has run as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans.”

Bush experienced the most contested election that the United States remembers, when he won the 2000 presidential elections by prevailing in Florida by 537 votes over Democrat Al Gore. The evidence of errors in the ballots of that State unleashed a phenomenal judicial battle over the counting of the ballots that reached the Supreme Court. After more than a month of intrigue, the Supreme Court stopped the counting of the votes and de facto granted the presidency to Bush.

That precedent is what Trump now intends to use to question the scrutiny that the victory has given Biden in several key places, in a very slow count (the name of the winner was still unknown in four states on Sunday afternoon) due to the unprecedented number of votes by mail and early votes. Trump’s legal team is filing lawsuits in every state where the score has been adjusted (Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona and Nevada) looking for so-called “illegal votes” that should not be counted. In five days they have not been able to offer a single proof of their claims, but the Republican clings to that conspiracy theory to refuse to accept the result, something unheard of in American democracy.

Bush alludes directly to this issue in his statement Sunday. First, he congratulates Trump for getting more than 70 million votes and ensures that “their voices will be heard.” But then he warns: “President Trump has the right to request a recount and file objections in court, and any unresolved issue will be decided appropriately. People can trust that this election has been fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and the outcome is clear. ” And he concludes: “We ask all Americans to join us in wishing our next president and vice president the best as they prepare to take on their important duties.”

Bush’s words reached the media just after the main voices of the Republican Party in Washington aligned themselves with the conspiracy theory that the president is trying to promote to refuse to assume the result.

Trump began to stoke the idea that the election is a “robbery” when the advance vote count began Wednesday in favor of Biden. On Saturday, after projections of results from the mainstream media giving Biden the winner after winning in Pennsylvania, he refused to acknowledge defeat, said the process “is far from over” and promised to fight each ballot that, in his judgment , It is illegal”. Sunday’s session dawned with a new string of messages from Trump on Twitter in which he shows that he has not changed his mind. Senators Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and Ted Cruz, of Texas, along with the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, went to the Fox News network to address the supporters of the president and make clear their support for Trump. Cruz, who presents himself as an expert on the Constitution and was part of Bush’s team of Florida lawyers, said: “At this point we still don’t know who has won the election.” And he presented this unprecedented situation as if it were a routine matter: “We have to let the legal process develop and, when it is finished, in a matter of weeks, we will know the result.”

The States have until December 8 to certify the list of delegates that they will send to the Electoral College and who are the ones who will vote for the next president.

Graham, chairman of the Senate Justice Committee, launched a much more aggressive message in which he put his voice and face to the president’s tweets. “This election is in dispute,” said the man in charge of such important issues in Washington as directing the confirmation of federal judges. He went on to assure that he has proof that 15 dead people have voted in Pennsylvania, where Biden has a 43,000-vote lead. “If we don’t fight and change the US electoral system, there will never be a Republican president again. President Trump must not concede defeat, ”he added.

Graham can politically afford that language. On Tuesday, he won his reelection as a senator from South Carolina, apparently without illegal votes, and his job is secured for the next six years. He will survive Trump, and surely Biden, whatever happens in the medium term.

Kevin McCarthy has managed to win five seats for his group in the House of Representatives in these elections, against the prognosis and also apparently without illegal votes. He believed that the Republican success in that House fuels doubts that Trump has lost the presidential election.

All this occurs in a context of uncertainty for Republicans. While they have managed to maintain their majority in the Senate for now, Georgia’s two senatorial elections will be decided in a special vote in January. Georgia has shown that it is on the brink of voting Democratic for the first time this century. If those two seats go to Democrats, Republicans will not be able to oppose anything in Washington that their rivals want to approve. Trump has added more than 71 million votes, and keeping those voters active for at least two more months can be critical to defending those seats.

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