When Bill Clinton entered the White House, he found a letter from the man he beat: George H.W. Bush. Notes from outgoing presidents to incoming ones are a tradition, but Bush’s letter on January 20, 1993, is a lesson on grace in defeat.
“He made us feel at home, as much as he could. Total class,” Clinton said of the letter.
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 now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.