It’s a tradition in the United States for outgoing presidents to leave a letter of advice to incoming presidents, since it’s the sort of unique job that nothing else can really prepare you for. Naturally, President Barack Obama carried this tradition on when the racist, orange tornado blew through the Oval Office, but up we never had a chance to see what that letter said. Was it just the words “pee tape” over and over again? Was it one of those ASCII middle fingers? Or was it a vicious, thoughtful deconstruction of all the worst parts of Donald Trump’s entire hateful, pathetic, and embarrassing life?
Unfortunately for us, Obama did the typical Obama thing and rose above the idiocy that he knew his successor would spew over this country and offered a sincere letter of legitimate, heartfelt advice. You can see it below, via Deadline:
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,
The odds of Trump actually reading this are pretty slim, and the odds of him actually listening to Obama’s advice and taking it to heart are even slimmer, but it’s probably too disturbing to theorize about what he actually did with it. After all, his entire presidency has been defined by metaphorically shitting on Obama’s legacy, so it seems fairly easy to imagine what he would do with a physical reminder of that legacy, but that’s not something anybody needs to think about.