Bush handover note to Clinton has Americans nostalgic
In his letter, Bush also gave his successor some advice: “There will be very tough times,” he wrote. “Just don’t let the critics discourage you..."
In the final stretch of a US presidential campaign marked by divisive rhetoric and acrimony, Americans appear to be longing for gentler times. After Donald Trump’s unprecedented threat to reject the results of the presidential vote, a 1993 letter that George HW Bush sent to Bill Clinton as he passed the Oval Office torch has resurfaced and taken social media by storm.
“Your success is now our country’s success,” Bush wrote to Clinton, a few months after conceding electoral defeat. “I am rooting for you.”
The letter from Bush’s presidential library quickly went viral on Twitter after a National Public Radio host shared it with the words, “Read this. Think about this. George HW Bush’s gracious handoff to Bill Clinton.”
In his letter, Bush also gave his successor some advice: “There will be very tough times,” he wrote. “Just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.”
“I wish you well. I wish your family well.”
In yet another acrimonious debate on Wednesday night, the Republican candidate declined to say if he would accept the election result.
He added Thursday that he reserved the right to launch a legal appeal against the electoral results, launching the United States into unprecedented territory and amplifying fears of post-election unrest.
The contrast with the tone of the Bush letter was lost on no one.
“What happened to us in the past 20 years? Stunned. Ashamed,” wrote another Twitter user with an image of the note.
The letter had also made the internet rounds earlier in the campaign. Hillary Clinton posted a picture of the handwritten letter on White House stationery in June, telling her followers it had brought her to tears.
“It had some good advice about staying focused on what mattered, despite the critics,” she wrote on Instagram alongside the image. “They had just fought a fierce campaign.”
“Bill won, President Bush lost. In a democracy, that’s how it goes.”