'Gracious': Joe Biden reacts to Donald Trump's Oval Office letter

·3-min read

The Biden Administration has described a letter written by Donald Trump and left in the Oval Office for his successor as “generous and gracious”.

Trump honoured the long-running tradition of leaving a letter for the incoming president, which usually includes a personal note of congratulations and support as well as a shared kinship of the hardships that can come with the highest job in the United States of America.

In 1993, following a particularly partisan election campaign, George H.W. Bush left a note for the incoming Democrat leader Bill Clinton, a surprising show of unity that cemented the tradition that has persisted ever since.

President Donald Trump signing a letter of principal.
Donald Trump wrote a letter to Joe Biden as part of a long-running tradition. Source: Getty Images

It came after his fellow Republican, Ronald Reagan, had left a letter for Bush four years earlier.

President Joe Biden’s White House press secretary Jen Psaki said he received a “generous” letter from Trump following speculation he might not leave a note after he made false claims of election fraud and refused to attend his inauguration.

During her first media briefing, a reporter asked Psaki about whether Biden and Trump would be in touch after the president stated he would not talk about the letter until he spoke to the former president.

US President Joe Biden prepares to sign a series of executive orders at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.
US President Joe Biden said the letter was private. Source: Getty Images

“I was with him when he was reading the letter in the Oval Office, right before he signed the executive actions,” she told reporters.

“This is a letter that was private, as he said to you all. It was both generous and gracious. And it was just a reflection of him not planning to release the letter unilaterally.

“I wouldn’t take it as an indication of a pending call with the former president.”

Trump abandons Inaugural Day traditions

Trump had abandoned several Inaugural Day traditions, from meeting with the next commander-in-chief to attending the ceremonies in Washington.

The former president also refused to mention Biden by name in a pair of farewell addresses.

On Wednesday morning (local time), Trump left the White House for the final time as he headed to Florida with his family.

His usual claims of voter fraud and fake news were replaced with a simple message to Biden.

“I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success,” Trump said.

The letter from Trump to Biden was left in the Oval Office for the incoming president by an aide, according to Bloomberg News.

There are reports former vice president Mike Pence also left a handwritten note for Vice President Kamala Harris.

Outgoing press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted on Wednesday morning an image of letters she left for the incoming Biden communications team.

“Wish all the best to President Joe Biden’s incoming press and communications team,” she tweeted.

With AAP

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