Read the “beautiful letter” Obama wrote to Trump before he took office

Read the “beautiful letter” Obama wrote to Trump before he took office
Former President Barack Obama departs the Oval Office for the last time as president on Jan. 20. JIM WATSON/Getty Images
Former President Barack Obama departs the Oval Office for the last time as president on Jan. 20. JIM WATSON/Getty Images

In the final moments of Barack Obama’s presidency, the former commander in chief left a few words of wisdom for Donald Trump in the Oval Office — and now, we know what the former president had to say.

Obama’s letter, the text of which was released Sunday by CNN, congratulated Trump on a “remarkable run” and offered “a few reflections from the past eight years.” The former president advocated for building “ladders of success” for those less fortunate in life, sustaining the “international order” and making time for friends and family.

“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,” Obama wrote to Trump.

Trump reportedly appreciated the “beautiful letter,” praising Obama for writing it soon after his inauguration.

“I just went to the Oval Office and found this beautiful letter from President Obama,” Trump said in January, as quoted by the Hill.

“It was really very nice of him to do that and we will cherish that. We will keep that and we won’t even tell the press what’s in that letter.”

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama following Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump with former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama following Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Pool/Getty Images

Here’s the full text of former President Obama’s letter:

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 eight 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,
BO