This Letter From George H.W. Bush To Bill Clinton Does What Donald Trump Won't Promise

Why people are sharing it more than 20 years later.

This Letter From George H.W. Bush To Bill Clinton Does What Donald Trump Won't Promise

During Wednesday night's third and final presidential debate, Republican candidate Donald Trump refused to say whether he will accept the outcome of the election no matter who wins. "I will look at it at the time," he said. "I will keep you in suspense."

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called this response "horrifying" and added, "He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position."

It's certainly not the position taken by past presidential candidates. Former Republican President George H.W. Bush, for example, lost his campaign for re-election against Democratic candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. On Clinton's inauguration day in January 1993, he wrote his successor a respectful letter wishing him luck and offering advice. The note, first published by ABC in 2011, is making the rounds on social media as an example of grace in defeat.


The letter reads:

Dear Bill,

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 now is our country's success. I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck —


Hillary Clinton herself mentioned Bush's letter in June of this year, saying that reading it again moved her to tears. "That's the America we love," she said. "That is what we cherish and expect." The letter went viral again this week as Donald Trump repeatedly suggested the election is "rigged" against him. Following last night's debate, it's never been more relevant.

It's also appropriate to mention that George H.W. Bush will reportedly vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.