A 1993 letter that George H.W. Bush wrote to Bill Clinton as Clinton ascended to the presidency is taking on a new life on social media today.
Bush reportedly left the letter for his successor to find in the Oval Office after losing to Clinton by a wide margin. Though the Bush campaign attacked Clinton on character issues throughout the 1992 election, the letter, which wishes Clinton "great happiness" in the White House, shows graciousness in defeat.
A day after Republican nominee Donald Trump refused to say in a debate whether he'd accept the outcome of the current election if he loses, Bush's letter is striking a chord. Tom Ashbrook, host of NPR's On Point, tweeted a photo of the letter that has since been retweeted more than 20,000 times.
Read this. Think about this. George H.W. Bush's gracious handoff to Bill Clinton. It's beautiful. pic.twitter.com/XHjPvbzGu8— Tom Ashbrook (@tomashbrooknpr) October 19, 2016
Here's the full text of the letter:
When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.
I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.
There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I'm not a very good one to give advice; but just don't let the critics discourage you or push you off course.
You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.
Your success is now our country's success. I am rooting hard for you.
The letter has been making the rounds on social media since earlier in the summer, but started trending after the final debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee posted a copy of the letter to Instagram back in June, writing that reading it again "moved me to tears."
You may have noticed a letter that went viral on the internet this week. The letter is from George H.W. Bush’s presidential library. I hadn’t read it in a long time, until yesterday. It moved me to tears, just like it did all those years ago. It’s the letter that President Bush left in the Oval Office for my husband, back in January of 1993. They had just fought a fierce campaign. Bill won, President Bush lost. In a democracy, that’s how it goes. But when Bill walked into that office for the very first time as President, that note was waiting for him. It had some good advice about staying focused on what mattered, despite the critics. It wished him happiness. And it concluded with these words: “You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success is now our country’s success. And I am rooting hard for you. George.” That’s the America we love. That is what we cherish and expect.