WASHINGTON — On the eve of President Barack Obama handing off the reins of power to his successor, Donald Trump, the George W. Bush Presidential Library has released the letters that former President Bill Clinton and Bush penned to their successors.
The library on Thursday released the notes the 42nd and 43rd presidents wrote on the final day of their presidencies, a ritual that Obama will fulfill on Friday.
Both Clinton and Bush congratulated their successors and remarked on the burdens associated with the job.
“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,” Bush wrote to Obama on January 20, 2009. “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.”
Eight years earlier, Clinton encouraged Bush to recognize that he led “in a time of profound and largely positive change.”
“You lead a proud, decent, good people. And from this day you are President of all of us,” Clinton wrote on January 20, 2001. “The burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated. The sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible.”
The letters’ release was earlier reported by ABC News.
In October, Clinton’s wife, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, shared on social media a message former President George H.W. Bush wrote to Clinton on Inauguration Day in 1993. In sharing the note, Hillary Clinton wrote, “This is what leadership looks like.”