U.S. presidents pen gracious letters to their successors

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – What words of wisdom does the leader of the free world have for the man replacing him?

Letters that US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wrote on their last day in office touch on the unique burden of the role – but also the joy that comes from serving in the highest office. 

JUST IN: Bill Clinton's letter to George W. Bush & George W. Bush's letter to Barack Obama made public for 1st time https://t.co/hMluCMbMRA pic.twitter.com/ADHiom927N — ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2017


"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," Clinton wrote to Bush on January 20, 2001, according to a copy of the handwritten letter that Bush's presidential library released to US media on Thursday, January 19.

"The burdens you now shoulder are great but often exaggerated. The sheer joy of doing what you believe is right is inexpressible," he wrote, adding that "from this day you are President of all of us."

"I salute you and wish you success and much happiness."

Exactly 8 years later, Bush penned a note to Barack Obama, telling him that "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," Bush wrote in the letter.

"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."

Obama is expected to carry on the tradition with a note to Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated just before noon on Friday. – Rappler.com