Seven months after Donald Trump took office as the President of the United States on 20 January this year, CNN has obtained a copy of a letter addressed to Trump by former president Barack Obama in which he offered his 'reflections' to the newly elected 'occupant' of the White House.
Trump had reportedly shown the letter to some of his aides who then revealed it to CNN.
In the letter, Obama congratulated Trump on his election victory and said, "Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure."
The 275-word letter details friendly advice on what being a president entails and urged Trump to unite the world that's deeply polarised. Obama described the White House as "a unique office" and said that there is no "clear blueprint to success". Instead of outlining a formula to a successful presidency, the former president chose to describe his reflections on the eight years of his tenure.
Obama first wrote that Trump and he were blessed with a good fortune, though in different ways. "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," wrote Obama.
He then went on to describe the American leadership as indispensable to the world and said that it was up to the US 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".
Obama continued to ask Trump to remember that they 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," he wrote to Trump.
Interestingly, Trump has displayed a completely opposite mien from the time he assumed office from constantly bringing up the "huge crowd" size at his inauguration to hinting at offering presidential pardons to people close to him if they're found guilty of colluding with Russians to sway the 2016 election results.
Towards the end of the letter, Obama told Trump to make time for his family and friends despite the constant events and responsibilities involved.
He concluded the letter by wishing Trump and his wife Melania the best for "this great adventure" and signed off as "Godspeed. BO".
"We are just temporary occupants of this office."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 3, 2017
Earlier, in an interview with ABC News, Trump said he received a "beautiful letter" that was "so well written" in his Oval Office desk drawer from Obama. He showed the envelope but did not disclose the content of the 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.
The letter writing is a tradition of sorts where each outgoing president writes notes to the incoming one. When Obama became the president in 2007, the then-president George W Bush left a handwritten letter to his successor congratulating for the start of a "fantastic chapter" in his life. Prior to that, both Bill Clinton and George HW Bush had left notes for their successors.
So far, in his ongoing controversial tenure as president, Trump has never met or directly contacted Obama since the former's inauguration. He has constantly come under heavy fire and criticism, from Democrats and Republicans alike, for reversing several Obama-era regulations, especially his attempt to repeal Obamacare.
Updated Date: Sep 03, 2017 21:48:34 IST