'There will be trying moments': Bush's parting letter to Obama

Empty frames that once contained photos of President Barack Obama line the walls of the West Wing on January19, 2017.


By FRED BARBASH | The Washington Post | Published: January 20, 2017

It's a tradition for the outgoing president to leave a note to his successor in the Oval Office desk, offering a word of wise advice, like, among other things, "don't let the turkeys get you down," as Ronald Reagan told George H.W. Bush.

No doubt, we will be left to wonder for a while about the contents of President Barack Obama's parting letter to Donald Trump, unless, perhaps Trump decides to tweet it.

SPECIAL REPORT | Inauguration 2017


But now we know what George W. Bush wrote to Obama, via a copy of the letter obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration by ABC News:

Dear Barack,

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


ABC also obtained a copy of the letter Bill Clinton left for Bush. But the contents of that had already been made public by Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign.

Dear George,

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.

Sincerely, Bill

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