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Top House Democrat Clyburn says George W. Bush called him a 'savior' for boosting Biden

"He said to me that Joe Biden was the only one who could have defeated the incumbent president," said Democratic Rep. James Clyburn.

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Updated: January 21, 2021 - 4:07pm

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the third-most powerful Democrat in the House, says former President George W. Bush praised him as a "savior" for helping Democrat Joe Biden get elected.

The South Carolina Democrat, also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, endorsed Biden shortly before his state's 2020 presidential primary. Biden won the primary, which became a turning point in his successful presidential bid after dismal performances in earlier states.

On a call Wednesday with reporters, Clyburn said, "George Bush said to me today, he said, 'You know, you're the savior because if you had not [endorsed] Joe Biden, we would not be having this transfer of power today.'"  

"He said to me that Joe Biden was the only one who could have defeated the incumbent president," Clyburn continued, according to The Associated Press.

Clyburn said Bush also told him that the endorsement "saved the party."

Shortly before the South Carolina primary, Clyburn — the highest-ranking African American in Congress — formally announced his endorsement of the former vice president in an effort to "blunt Bernie Sanders' momentum before he runs away with the nomination," according to Politico.

Bush spokesman Freddy Ford downplayed Clyburn's remarks in a post on Twitter.

"Let's not make this into more than it is," he wrote, adding that the former president was saying "Clyburn helped saved Biden's nomination ... nothing Biblical here."

Bush said he chose "none of the above" in the 2016 presidential election, when fellow Republican Donald Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump repeatedly criticized Bush's brother Jeb when they competed in the 2016 GOP presidential primary.

Bush has not divulged whom he voted for in 2020. 

However, in a statement issued following Biden's victory, Bush wrote: "Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man. 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."


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