It's a tradition passed from president to president to leave a letter for the next occupier of the Oval Office on the desk the morning of the inauguration.
Often the contents of these letters are kept secret, but while conducting research for his new novel "The Inner Circle," author Brad Meltzer asked George H.W. Bush about these letters, and the former president sent him a copy of what he wrote to Bill Clinton on January 20, 1993.
“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,” the letter began.
Bush went on to wish Clinton “great happiness” and said he “never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.”
“Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you,” the letter said.
Meltzer said the contents of this personal letter point not to just a great president, but a great man.
“What I love about the letter is here is a moment where George Bush has every reason to hate Bill Clinton. It is the end of a bitter campaign and instead what George Bush does in this moment is he puts our country above his own personal feelings,” the best-selling author told me on "GMA."
Here is the full text of the letter:
January 20, 1993
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 –
Watch the interview here: