ABC News reports that for the first time, Americans are getting to look at what two former outgoing Presidents wrote to their incoming successors. The first was written by Bill Clinton for George W. Bush, and George W. Bush’s to Barack Obama.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 19, 2017
Both letters are brief but poignant.
January 20, 2001
Today you embark on the greatest venture, with the greatest honor, that can come to an American citizen.
Like me, you are especially fortunate to lead our country in a time of profound and largely positive change, when old questions, not just about the role of government, but about the very nature of our nation, must be answered anew.
You lead a proud, decent, good people. And from this day you are President of all of us. I salute you and wish you success and much happiness.
The burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated. The sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible.
My prayers are with you and your family. Godspeed.
And George W. Bush’s letter to Obama:
Jan 20, 2009
Congratulations on becoming our President. You have just begun a fantastic chapter in your life.
Very few have had the honor of knowing the responsibility you now feel. Very few know the excitement of the moment and the challenges you will face.
There will be trying moments. The critics will rage. Your “friends” will disappoint you. But, you will have an Almighty God to comfort you, a family who loves you, and a country that is pulling for you, including me. No matter what comes, you will be inspired by the character and compassion of the people you now lead.
God bless you.
President George W. Bush was much aligned by the media, constantly peppered to admit ‘mistakes’ he made as President. His supporters often felt like Bush didn’t fight the critics hard enough, but as time goes on it has become clear that George W. Bush’s first priority wasn’t his own legacy. Class act all the way.
Now – what will President Obama write to President-elect Donald Trump? Perhaps we’ll get a look in a few years.