Obama's transition letter to Trump shows you everything that the president is lacking

Greg Evans
Saturday 14 November 2020 11:15
news

It's been a week since Donald Trump lost the 2020 US presidential election and Joe Biden surpassed the 270 electoral college votes required to be named president-elect.

Yet, at the time of writing, Trump is yet to concede the election or congratulate Biden on his victory and is now pursuing baseless claims of electoral fraud against the Democrats and attempting to file legal cases.

Unless his team is able to produce any substantial evidence and recounts manage to massively swing votes in his favour, then Donald Trump will not be president after January 20, 2021.

Trump's lack of grace or humility in defeat probably shouldn't be a shock to anyone given his overall behaviour in the past four years but it's still a remarkable thing to behold, especially compared to previous presidents.

For instance, this is the letter of congratulations that Barack Obama left for Trump in the Oval Office in 2017 after he was sworn in as president.

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,
BO

It's hard to imagine Trump writing something as eloquent and nuanced as that but Obama had reason to act in a gracious way as it was exactly the way he was treated when he took over from George W. Bush in 2009. In Obama's new book A Promised Land, he details just how smooth and easy the Bush administration, despite their opposing ideologies, made the process and how he would repeat this for his successor. Obama writes:

Whether it was because of the respect for the institution, because of lessons learned from his father, bad memories of his own transition or just basic decency, President Bush would end up doing all he could to make the 11 weeks between my election and his departure go smoothly. I promised myself that when the time came I would treat my successor the same way.

There are even pictures of the Bush and Obama children playing together in the White House.

Furthermore, both Bush received a gracious letter from Bill Clinton in 2001, just like he had from Bush's father George H.W. Bush in 1993.

We aren't placing any bets but we sincerely doubt that Trump will write anything like this for Biden, sadly breaking this once proud and decent tradition.

More: Why Trump choosing not to concede if Biden wins is a disgrace to our democracy

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