After forgoing many handoff traditions and failing to attend the inauguration yesterday, former President Trump apparently followed through with one very personal tradition. Yesterday, while signing executive orders on his first day as president, President Biden revealed that Trump had left him a “very generous letter” before he left the White House for West Palm Beach, Florida. Moreover, Biden stated that, out of respect to the former president, he would not be revealing its content explicitly. “The President wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him, but it was generous,” said President Biden. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who was in attendance at the inauguration yesterday, reportedly also left Vice President Harris a gracious handwritten note.
The practice of outgoing presidents writing a letter to their successor has been in place for many years as a sort of modern tradition. The letter is typically left on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office for the new president to read. Reportedly, Trump behaved very exclusively with his letter and did not share its contents with many on his staff. The letter was a “personal note” with well wishes for success and prosperity for the country under Biden’s administration, according to one senior Trump aide. After being pressed to address the letter by reporters, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated, “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.” This “generous and gracious” letter of course comes after months of Trump’s baseless claims of a rigged election as well as his second impeachment for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th. Aside from writing this letter, Trump has never publicly congratulated Biden on his win.
“Biden Confirms Trump Left Him a Note at the White House: ‘It Was Generous’”
“Biden says Trump left him a ‘very generous letter’ before departing White House” https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/20/politics/trump-letter-to-biden/index.html