After Donald Trump refused to say that he would accept the results of the election, we are being reminded of past friendliness in the outcome of presidential elections. A photo of a letter sent to Bill Clinton from George H.W. Bush has resurfaced online.
Free and fair elections, with the vanquished peacefully stepping aside for the victor, have been the underpinning of America’s democratic tradition since the country’s founding 240 years ago.
Threatening to upend a fundamental pillar of American democracy, Donald Trump refused to say in debate that he will accept the results of next month’s election if he loses to Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee declared Trump’s resistance “horrifying.”
Asked Wednesday evening whether he would accept the outcome if Clinton emerges victorious, he said: “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
Below is the letter President Bush sent to President Clinton in 1993. The Inauguration Day letter is from Bush’s presidential library. Hillary Clinton also published the letter on her Instagram in June.
When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.
I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.
There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.
You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.
Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting for you.