Read the Inauguration Day letter Obama left for Trump
By Kevin Liptak, CNN White House Producer | 9/3/2017, 8:20 a.m.
(CNN) -- During his final moments in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama folded into thirds a handwritten letter to Donald Trump, slid it into an envelope, and in neat capital letters addressed it to "Mr. President."
Now, the contents of that letter -- the last direct communication between the 44th and 45th presidents -- have emerged for the first time after CNN obtained a copy.
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Dear Mr. President -
Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure.
This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don't know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.
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.
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.
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.
And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They'll get you through the inevitable rough patches.
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.
Good luck and Godspeed,
Four pieces of advice
The words reveal a conciliatory outgoing commander in chief with four items of advice for his successor, whose fitness for the job he'd spent the previous months openly questioning.
"Congratulations on a remarkable run," Obama wrote in his opening line. "Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure."
Written out longhand on White House stationery and slipped into the top drawer of the Resolute Desk, the 275-word letter captures an outgoing president eager to instill in Trump the vast responsibilities and uncertain parameters of the job.
Obama, when writing the letter, didn't disclose the content even to his closest aides. Since then, however, Trump has shown the letter to visitors in the Oval Office or his private White House residence. CNN obtained a copy from someone Trump showed it to.