Outgoing President Barack Obama left a handwritten note to President Donald Trump during their peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 20, 2017.
The letter, a simple 275 words, was warm, gracious and indicative of the character of the man who was America’s first black president—by all reports, an intelligent, thoughtful, measured man.
According to CNN, which obtained an exclusive look at the letter, Obama didn’t disclose its contents even to his closest aides when writing the missive.
Trump, however, has been showing off the note to White House visitors for about eight months (he probably secretly sniffs it a few times a day, too), and thus CNN was able to obtain a copy from someone Trump showed it to.
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,
Trump has done nothing to indicate that he understands even an iota of the three points Obama made.
First, Trump has zero sympathy, empathy or even two good fucks to give for anyone besides himself. As for those less fortunate, he has, in fact, knocked down ladders for several of them, including undocumented immigrants, the uninsured and refugees, just to name a few.
Second, his leadership is a joke, since there is none. He can’t even keep a staff, much less deal with the world events that now include a possible pending nuclear war with North Korea, whom Trump has antagonized. So that one is goose eggs as well.
Third, those very democratic institutions Obama spoke of are being trashed by a man who obviously has no regard for anyone or anything but himself. In one of the most egregious instances, he fired the head of the FBI because he didn’t act as if he were head of security at Trump Towers. We can come up with plenty of other examples of Trump’s disregard for “separation of powers,” “rule of law,” “equal protection” and “civil liberties.”
Frankly, the only thing the 71-year-old kindergartner seems able to do is dick-ride our first black president, stoke racial animosities and trash the Constitution while he’s at it.
But at least Obama tried.
Read more at CNN.