Former President Barack Obama says he “could not be prouder” to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In a statement Saturday, Obama says Biden has “got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way,” because he will enter the White House facing “a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has.”
Acknowledging that the election revealed the nation remains bitterly divided, Obama said, “I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote.”
He adds: “I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support.”
Biden served as Obama’s vice president for two terms.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called Biden to congratulate him on a “tremendous” victory, according to a senior Democratic aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.
The aide described it as a “happy call.” Biden’s wife, Jill, also joined the conversation Saturday.
The aide says Pelosi and Schumer look forward to working with the new Democratic administration to achieve “great things” for the American people. The two did not get along with President Donald Trump.
Another senior Democratic aide says Schumer was celebrating on the streets of Brooklyn during the call and held up his phone so Biden could hear the crowds cheering for his “historic victory." The aide also spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private call.
Leaders of the United States’ traditional Western allies are also offering their congratulations to the incoming Biden administration.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement Saturday that the U.S. is the United Kingdom’s “most important ally” and added that he looks “forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security.” Johnson also singled out Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for “her historic achievement” as the first woman, first Black woman and first person of South Asian descent to win national U.S. office.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that “we have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!”
And Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s eager to start “tackling the world’s greatest challenges together.”
All three men have had complicated and at times strained relationships with President Donald Trump.
Biden comes to the presidency with extensive foreign policy experience and said throughout his campaign that he’d immediately work to shore us U.S. relationships with traditional allies.