As Barack Obama left office, he left a letter for incoming President Donald Trump. Traditionally, presidents write a personal note to their successors, usually wishing them luck and giving them advice.
CNN has obtained a copy of Obama’s letter to Trump.
Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure.
This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.
First, we’ve both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune. Not everyone is so lucky. It’s up to us to do everything we can (to) build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard.
Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. It’s up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend.
Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of democracy at least as strong as we found them.
And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They’ll get you through the inevitable rough patches.
Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this very great adventure, and know we stand ready to help in any ways that we can.
Good luck and Godspeed,
Trump has spoken of Obama’s letter previously, calling it “beautiful” and “so well-written, so thoughtful.”
According to CNN, when Trump read the letter, he attempted to call Obama directly to thank him.
In January, the National Archives released the letters that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wrote to their successors.
“You lead a proud, decent, good people,” Clinton wrote to Bush. “And from this day you are president of all of us. I salute you and wish you success and much happiness.”
When Obama assumed the Oval Office, he did so with words from Bush reminding him he would have “a country that is pulling for [him], including me.”