'To Mr President': Obama’s handwritten letter to Trump

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U.S. President Donald Trump shows a letter from former President Barack Obama at a swearing-in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC January 22, 2017. Reuters/Carlos Barria

Barack Obama has left a handwritten letter, folded into thirds, to US President Donald Trump during his final moments in the Oval Office. In capital letters, the then departing POTUS addressed it to "Mr President” and was left in the top drawer of the Resolute Desk.

The contents of the letter have emerged after CNN got a copy and published it on Sunday. According to the news outlet, the letter was written in longhand on White House stationery.

In the letter left on Inauguration Day for Trump, Obama urged him to sustain the international order and guard democratic institutions and traditions.  The former president also recognised the massive responsibility of the job both domestically and on the world stage.

“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,” Obama wrote in the letter. Still, Obama offered some reflections from the past 8 years.

Obama told Trump that they have both been blessed in different ways, adding not everyone is so lucky. The former said it is important to build more ladders of success for anyone who is willing to work hard.

He stressed that “our wealth and safety” depend on maintaining “the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War.” “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,” Obama wrote as he concluded the letter.

Trump has reportedly shown Obama’s letter to White House visitors and CNN obtained a copy from one of them. In an interview with ABC News, Trump said he appreciated the letter and described it as “thoughtful.”

Obama's aides said he treated Trump with respect during the transition period. However, a deep relationship between the two was unlikely. A former White House official reportedly said it was Obama who was trying to display class in a "difficult situation."

Obama's letter is a tradition between US presidents. George Bush wrote a letter to Obama, and Bush received one from Bill Clinton as well.

In his letter, Clinton told Bush he led a "proud, decent, good people," and that he wished him success and much happiness. Bush, in his letter to Obama shared by ABC News, has mentioned about being inspired by the character and compassion of the people he led.

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