On the eve of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, ABC News published the handwritten letter George W. Bush gave Barack Obama ahead of his swearing-in on Jan. 20, 2009.
“There will be trying moments,” Bush wrote. “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,” Bush continued.
A letter from an outgoing president to the incoming president has become a traditional part of the transition of power. Obama likely will leave a letter for Trump in the Oval Office on Friday morning.
ABC also published the letter Bush received from his predecessor, Bill Clinton, in 2001.
“The burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated,” Clinton advised. “The sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible.”
Clinton himself received a similar note from George H.W. Bush in 1993, wishing him well in his new role. That letter was held up as an example of the importance of a peaceful transition of power after Trump suggested he wouldn’t accept the election results if he had lost to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair,” Bush wrote to Clinton. “I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.”