On Inauguration Day last January, outgoing president Barack Obama left a letter for the new president, Donald Trump, filled with words of wisdom (supposedly), lessons learned by Obama during his terms in office.
If only Obama had taken his own advice.
Obama first congratulated Trump on his “remarkable run” before offering Trump four reflections from his time in office that he believed would be useful to Trump in serving as president.
“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,” Obama wrote to Trump. “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.
Obama went on to remind Trump that they are just temporary holders in office and must make sure to guard democracy. He also told Trump to make time for his friends and family
“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,” Obama wrote.
Outgoing presidents usually write their successors a handwritten note as they take office, offering them advice on the office or congratulations for gaining it. Trump previously praised Obama’s letter in an ABC News interview as “beautiful” and “so well written.”
“It was long. It was complex. It was thoughtful. And it took time to do it, and I appreciated it and I called him and thanked him,” Trump said.
Obama’s sentiments are admirable. It’s just too bad he didn’t follow his own advice.
It is not a president’s job to “build more ladders of success.” Spoken like a true community organizer.
Was Obama a “guardian” of the “rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties…”? Those of us who followed his administration closely for eight years know the answer to that and it’s not even close. The IRS scandal, Obamacare, executive orders, and NSA spying make each and every one of those words of wisdom ring hollow.
Trump was certainly gracious in accepting the letter, but he must have been thinking the same thing most of us were.
“He’s lecturing me about all that stuff?” Sheesh.