The letter Bush left Obama after a highly successful and historic presidential campaign reveals the positive thoughts the then-incumbent president had for his successor

By Alexia Fernández
Updated January 19, 2017 07:52 PM
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Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A long-standing tradition among Presidents of the United States is to write a letter to the incoming president on their Inauguration Day. And now two such letters from the past — Bill Clinton to George W. Bush, and Bush to Barack Obama — are being made public for the first time.

Obtained by ABC News, the letter Bush left Obama after a highly-successful and historic presidential campaign reveals the positive thoughts the then-incumbent president had for his successor.

“Congratulations on becoming our President,” Bush’s letter begins. “You have just begun a fantastic chapter in your life. Very few have had the honor of knowing the responsibility you now feel. Very few know the excitement of the moment and the challenges you will face.”

“There will be trying moments. The critics will rage. Your ‘friends’ will disappoint you,” Bush continued. “But, you will have an Almighty God to comfort you, a family who loves you, and a country that is pulling for you, including me. No matter what comes, you will be inspired by the character and compassion of the people you now lead. God bless you.”

Bill Clinton’s letter to Bush spoke of the thrilling moments of the presidency.

“Dear George,” Clinton begins. “Today you embark on the greatest venture, with the greatest honor, that can come to an American citizen. Like me, you are especially fortunate to lead our country in a time of profound and largely positive change, when old questions, not just about the role of government, but about the very nature of our nation, must be answered anew.”

“You lead a proud, decent, good people,” he continues. “And from this day you are President of all of us. I salute you and wish you success and much happiness.”

Clinton adds: “The burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated. The sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible. My prayers are with you and your family. Godspeed.”

President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration day is going full-speed ahead. Trump attended a pre-inaugural concert with his family in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, just one day before he will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America.

PEOPLE confirmed in early January that Bill and Hillary Clinton will attend Trump’s inauguration on Friday, as well as Bush and his wife, Laura.