US President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, US, November 10, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
According to a letter posted by CNN, Obama encouraged Trump to “build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard” and “sustain the international order.”
”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.”
Turning to international relations, Obama told Trump, who had embraced isolationism throughout his campaign: “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.”
Obama urged his successor to protect “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. “
In January, Trump called the letter “beautiful” and said he would cherish it, adding: “We won’t even tell the press what’s in that letter.”
The relationship between the two presidents has grown increasingly fractious after an initial attempt to build bridges on both sides quickly collapsed.
Obama invited his successor to the White House a few days after the election, telling Trump: “We now are going to do everything we can to help you succeed, because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”
Trump said he had “great respect” for the president he had excoriated on the campaign trail, and called Obama a “very good man”.
US President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
”The conversations have been cordial,” Obama said in January, following news the two had had a handful of phone calls. “He has been open to suggestions, and the main thing that I’ve tried to transmit is that there’s a difference between governing and campaigning.”
When the New Yorker’s David Remnick asked Obama how that White House meeting with Trump had gone, however, the former president “smiled thinly, and said, ‘I think I can’t characterize it without…’ Then he stopped himself and said that he would tell me ‘at some point over a beer – off the record’.”
Within days of Trump’s inauguration, Obama had broken his silence to criticize his successor for the first time, with a spokesman responding to Trump’s first attempt at a travel ban by saying: “The president (Obama) fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
Their relationship was strained further when Trump claimed in March that Obama had been tapping his phones during the election campaign. This week his own Justice Department stated in a court filing that its national security division and the FBI “confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets”.
More recently, Obama responded to Trump’s heavily criticized remarks equating neo-Nazis with the protesters opposing them in Charlottesville, Virginia, with a series of tweets quoting Nelson Mandela. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion,” the former president posted.
By contrast, Trump continues to use social media to needle his predecessor, last month retweeting an allegedly antisemitic supporter’s set of images entitled “The best eclipse ever!” which showed Trump’s face gradually obscuring that of Obama.
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,