The letter I would hope President Obama left for President Trump

The letter I would hope President Obama left for President Trump
George Washington takes the first Presidential Oath of Office April 30, 1789 in New York City. US Senate Photo

There is a tradition that the departing President leaves a letter in the top drawer of the Lincoln Desk in the Oval office for his successor.  They are sometimes brief, and sometimes long.

In the letters, the departing President gives words of wisdom to the new President that he can use during his time in office.  In spite of the rancor most partisan folks feel, little of that rancor exists between incoming and departing Presidents.  Both men know the arguing is all for the show.

I had the honor of working closely with four Presidents.  I’ve met President Obama but can’t say I know him.  However, I know a lot about the job of President from the lips of those who have served in that job.  I hope President Obama’s letter to President Trump went something like this.

“Dear Mr. President,

Let me congratulate you, and at the same time offer you my condolences on becoming the 45th President of the United States.  You have now taken the first step on a life-changing journey. 

When we were candidates, we offered great brush-strokes about bringing change to the nation.  What you need to be prepared for is how this job will change you far more than you will change the nation. 

With power disbursed by the Founders of our Nation, doing what we want to do is often a slow and arduous process requiring congressional approval at every step.  While frustrating, the design is pure genius and it allows for measured change rather than impulsive change.  You can navigate these stormy seas if you keep your temper.  At times, that is a challenge but in Washington, those with cools heads have a better chance of winning.

As politicians, we gravitate to those who support us.  Supporters are important but remember you are now President of the entire nation including those who don’t support you.  Always listen to the opposition.  They are not always wrong. 

Be willing to work with those who are willing to meet you halfway.  Our system is based on compromise and it has served us well. 

If you try to do the best for the greatest number of people in everything you do, then you will be remembered as a great President.  Never forget, you are here to serve and don’t let the trappings of this great office lull you into thinking otherwise.  It is not about you, rather it is about us.

As far as the condolences part goes, you have now given up much of your own freedom to serve.  Everything you do, every move you make will be reported on and analyzed.  Misinterpretations and outright lies by your opposition will become commonplace.  Ignore them until they become a national issue.  Then address them in a brief and forthright manner and walk away.  Let the facts speak for you.  They will and they will speak loudly. 

Lastly, you are also the leader of the Free World as well as the leader of the United States.  Millions in far off places who can’t vote for you depend upon you for their freedom and liberty just as our own Nation depends on you to protect our freedom and liberty.  Don’t let them down.  Since the start of America, we have been the torch of freedom passed to those who wish to be free. 

The torch is now passed to you.  Good luck, may God Bless you and your Administration.”

May God Bless President Obama and his family and thank you, Mr. President, for your service to the Nation, may God Bless and keep President Trump and provide him with wisdom as he serves as President of the United States.

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