The letter of advice that outgoing President Barack Obama wrote to the incoming President Donald Trump has been leaked to CNN.
During his final moments in the Oval Office, Obama composed a handwritten letter to Trump, addressing it to "Mr. President," CNN revealed on Sept. 3.
Presidents leaving a letter for their successor has become a White House tradition, notes the Daily Mail.
Obama didn't disclose the content of the 275-word letter even to his closest aides.
Two days after his inauguration, Trump told reporters: "I just went to the Oval Office and found this beautiful letter from President Obama. It was really very nice of him to do that and we will cherish that, we will keep that and we won't even tell the press what's in that letter."
However, Trump did show the letter to several of his White House visitors, and CNN obtained a copy from one of them, who remains anonymous.
In the letter, Obama congratulated Trump on "a remarkable run," adding: "Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure."
Obama also said, "I don't know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful," because the job does not come with "a clear blueprint for success."
Obama's modesty echoed the letter left by former President George H. W. Bush for President-elect Bill Clinton. "I'm not a very good one to give advice," Bush wrote, "but just don't let the critics discourage you or push you off course."
In his letter to Trump, Obama made three main points.
"First, we've both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune," Obama wrote, in an obvious nod to his successor's billionaire status. "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."
Then he added the standard boilerplate about how the U.S. bears the burden of world leadership, which he said "really is indispensable."
Obama's final point seems to be motivated by a concern that Trump might have dictatorial tendencies, cautioning him to respect democratic norms.
"Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office," Obama wrote. "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."
He closed on a personal note.
"Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can," he write, signing off with his initials: "B.O."
He left the letter in the Resolute Desk, so named because it was made from the oak timbers of the British ship H.M.S. Resolute, explains the White House Historical Society.
The desk was a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes from Queen Victoria in 1880, and has been used by every president since Hayes, excepting Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford.
It was originally used in the president's office on the second floor until 1902, when the office was moved to the newly constructed West Wing. This desk remained, however, on the second floor in the president's study.
When the White House was renovated during Harry. S. Truman's administration, the desk was placed in the Broadcast Room on the ground floor where it was used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
It was first used in the Oval Office in 1961 at the request of President John F. Kennedy.
When Johnson decided to use a different desk for his office, the Resolute Desk spent a year as part of the Kennedy Library traveling exhibition, then remained on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution until 1977.
In that year, President Jimmy Carter had the desk returned to White House. He used it in the Oval Office, where it remained throughout the Reagan administration.
President George H.W. Bush moved it to his Residence Office, but President Bill Clinton again returned it to the Oval Office, where it has remained ever since.