Trump leaves a note for Biden in the Oval Office, an Inauguration Day tradition

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Marine One. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images/TNS)

Before leaving the White House, President Donald Trump left a note for his successor, Joe Biden, in the Oval Office, carrying on at least one tradition of the peaceful transition of power.

Trump went to Florida Wednesday morning and did not attend Biden’s inauguration ceremony, breaking with more than a century of precedent in which presidents have witnessed their successors taking the oath of office on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Leaving a note for Biden is one Inauguration Day tradition that Trump chose to keep.

“The president wrote a very generous letter,” Biden said to reporters while he was signing executive orders at the White House. “Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous.”

Former President Barack Obama left Trump a note in the Resolute desk four years ago, wishing him “good luck and godspeed.”

“Congratulations on a remarkable run,” Obama wrote to Trump. “Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who attended Biden’s inauguration, left the incoming president a copy of the Trump administration’s White House Coronavirus Task Force report, as well as a handwritten note for his successor, Kamala Harris.

Pence applauded Harris when she took the oath as the first female vice president in U.S. history. After the ceremony, the incoming and outgoing vice presidents exchanged words and a laugh on the steps of the Capitol.

Aides to Pence were unable to say whether he had spoken with Trump on Wednesday. Pence returned home to Columbus, Indiana.


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