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‘Beacon of Hope, 2020’: George Bush Sends Holiday Card with Pointed Message as Trump Denies Election Loss

File photo of former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

File photo of former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

The card includes an image of Bush's painting of the Statue of Liberty that is titled 'Beacon of Hope, 2020' and part of his new art collection celebrating immigrants.

Former President George W. Bush has sent out holiday cards with a pointed message about a hopeful new year as President Donald Trump continues to deny his election loss.

The card, which was obtained by CNN, includes an image of Bush's painting of the Statue of Liberty that is titled "Beacon of Hope, 2020" and part of his new art collection celebrating immigrants.

"May the light of the holiday season shine bright in your heart now and throughout the New Year," the card's message reads.

The painting and its title come from a former President who has in the past leveled veiled criticism against Trump's immigration policies and was one of the first Republican figures to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his election win. Bush's choice to make the Statue of Liberty central to his card is symbolic of his past critiques of Trump. The statue was often one of the first sights that new immigrants to America would see as they entered New York Harbor and contains a poem by Emma Lazarus that is famous for its phrase, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

The poem itself was targeted by a Trump administration official in 2019 who suggested it should be revised to only include immigrants "who can stand on their own two feet."

The holiday card from the only living former Republican president comes as Trump and his GOP allies continue to deny his election loss even after the Electoral College on Monday affirmed Biden's win.

The President for weeks has spread false claims of widespread fraud despite courts in all of the battleground states rejecting his campaign's challenges to the election.

But Bush was quick to congratulate Biden last month, both in a phone call and in a statement that said while Trump has the right to pursue legal challenges and recounts, the 2020 race was "fundamentally fair" and "its outcome is clear."

"Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country," Bush had said. "The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can."

Bush has largely stayed out of politics since leaving office in January 2009. He was only an occasional presence on the campaign trail in 2016, when his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, ran against Trump and others in the Republican presidential primary.

Still, he has periodically offered thinly veiled shots at Trump during his time in office.

In 2017, Bush gave a speech in New York condemning bigotry and white supremacy while endorsing policies that ran counter to those supported by Trump.

"Our identity as a nation, unlike other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. ... This means that people from every race, religion, ethnicity can be full and equally American," he said during remarks at the George W. Bush Institute in New York City. "It means that bigotry and white supremacy, in any form, is blasphemy against the American creed."

He added that "bigotry seems emboldened," though he didn't explain why.

first published:December 17, 2020, 07:36 IST