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This Is The Letter George Bush Left For Barack Obama When He Became President

It's tradition for the outgoing president to leave a letter for the incoming president, but the contents of the letters are rarely seen.

Posted on January 20, 2017, at 6:54 p.m. ET


When Donald Trump walks into the Oval office for the first time as president of the United States, there will be a handwritten letter waiting for him from Barack Obama.

The letter, penned from one president to the next, is a tradition that has been continued 44 times as one president cedes power to the next.

What the letters say is rarely made public, but the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas has released the letter George W. Bush left for Obama.

BuzzFeed News obtained a copy of the letter Friday, which was simply addressed to the now-former president in 2009 as "To: 44 From: 43."

Here is a copy of the original letter:

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

It reads:

Jan 20, 2009,

Dear Barack,

Congratulations on becoming our President. 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. 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.



The letter is a reminder of the peaceful transfer of power that has occurred 44 times in the history of the US.

The library for the 43rd president also released the letter that Bush found in the Oval Office when he took office in 2001, penned by former President Bill Clinton.

Here is a copy of the letter:

George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

It reads:

Jan, 20, 2001

Dear George,

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. And from this day you are President of all of us. I salute you and wish you success and much happiness.

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.



Both letters are encouraging to the incoming president and, though warning of the struggles ahead, paint a positive and reassuring tone for the new leader of the Free World.

For now, only Trump and Obama know what 44 wrote for 45.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.