In his Inauguration Day letter to President Trump, former President Obama offered “reflections” instead of advice to the 45th president, reminding him that he is only a “temporary occupant” of the White House, and warned Trump to “leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong” as he found them.
CNN obtained a copy of the private 300-word letter from someone shown the letter by Trump, adding that the president occasionally shows the letter off to visitors at the White House.
Trump had previously gloated about the letter in an interview with ABC News shortly after taking office.
He called the letter “beautiful” and “so well-written.”
“I doubt too many of them were written in this manner,” Trump said. “In fact, I called him and thanked him for the thought that was put into that letter.”
“It was long. It was complex. It was thoughtful. And it took time to do it, and I appreciated it and I called him and thanked him,” Trump said.
Read the full letter, below:
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 our 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 great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.
Good luck and Godspeed,