Former President Barack Obama left a handwritten letter full of advice to President Donald Trump on Inauguration Day. The letter was written months ago, but CNN just published it.
In the letter, Obama congratulates Trump for his “remarkable run” in the presidential campaign. He tells him the Oval Office is a unique office without “a clear blueprint for success,” but he offers several tips for his tenure as president of the U.S.
The letter comes as no surprise, as American presidents usually leave a letter for their successors. President George W. Bush left a letter, too, for Obama, and Bill Clinton left him another when he began his presidency.
Obama to Trump: guard democratic values that our forebears fought for
Obama wrote to Trump that millions have placed their hopes on him and that everyone, regardless of their party, should wish for “expanded prosperity and security” during his time in office. The former president never disclosed the content of the letter to anyone, but President Trump has shown its content to some visitors in the Oval Office. CNN obtained a copy of the letter from someone Trump showed it to.
He shares three precious recommendations – a few “reflections” from Obama’s eight years as president.
“First, we’ve both been blessed, in different ways, with great fortune,” wrote the 44th president of the U.S. “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.”
His second reflection talks about “American leadership,” and how it’s indispensable for the world. Obama casually stressed the need to sustain the international order “that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War,” the decade-long conflict that heightened tensions between Russia and the United States.
Finally, he reminds Trump that they are “temporary occupants” of the office, and that means they must be guardians of democratic institutions and traditions, such as the rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties.
“Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them,” wrote Obama.
‘It was complex. It was thoughtful.’
Obama finishes his letter encouraging the new president to make time for friends and family, as they will “get you through the inevitable rough patches.” He then wished him and Melania “the very best,” and added that he and Michelle are willing to help whenever is necessary. He signs, “Good luck and Godspeed, BO.”
CNN reports that Trump “cherished” the missive. In fact, apparently when he read it on Inauguration Day he attempted to call Obama to express his gratitude, but the former president was traveling west to California and couldn’t be reached. He left a message to thank him for his words, but they never talked directly, and haven’t since.
“It was long. It was complex. It was thoughtful,” Trump said of the letter after taking office in an interview with ABC News. “And it took time to do it, and I appreciated it.”