CNN published on Sunday morning the letter that former President Barack Obama gave to President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration — but instead of writing it up as a humanizing moment, as its leaker may have intended, the piece from Kevin Liptak just uses the occasion to bash Trump and praise Obama.
The leak of this document occurs 7 months into Trump’s presidency, whereas the inauguration letters from outgoing Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton stayed private for eight and 16 years, respectively. ABC News published those letters days before Trump’s inauguration, obtaining them from the National Archives and Records Administration.
Yet CNN acknowledges that it did not obtain the Obama-Trump letter through official channels: “Obama, when writing the letter, didn’t disclose the content even to his closest aides,” Liptak writes. “Since then, however, Trump has shown the letter to visitors in the Oval Office or his private White House residence. CNN obtained a copy from someone Trump showed it to.”
The leak, then, could have come from an acquaintance that Trump somehow trusted enough to leave the letter in their possession long enough to take a photo or make a “copy” through some other means — or it could have come from a close associate of the president with regular access to the Oval Office or his private residence.
If the leak came from the White House, presumably to build on the positive response to Trump’s visits to Texas in the wake of Hurrican Harvey, the leaker underestimates CNN’s pure, dehumanizing hatred of the president. Liptak slobbers over Obama as “conciliatory,” “eager to instill in Trump the vast responsibilities and uncertain parameters of the job,” and “humble” from his experience as Commander-in-Chief. In contrast, he
In contrast, the CNN producer describes Trump as a tyrant ignoring Obama’s “prescient” warning not to “[erode] the tenets of democracy”:
And he offers a warning against eroding the tenets of democracy in the name of political gain.“We are just temporary occupants of this office,” Obama wrote. “That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for.”“Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them,” he said.That passage, read seven months after Trump took office, appears prescient. Trump has been accused of flouting rule of law in his broadsides against federal judges and his own attorney general. His verbal assaults on Congress have led to charges that he’s disregarding the constitutionally enshrined separate but equal branches of government.
Dear Mr. President –
Congratulations on a remarkable run. Millions have placed their hopes in you, and all of us, regardless of party, should hope for expanded prosperity and security during your tenure.
This is a unique office, without a clear blueprint for success, so I don’t know that any advice from me will be particularly helpful. Still, let me offer a few reflections from the past 8 years.First, we’ve both been blessed, in different ways, with great good fortune. Not everyone is so lucky. It’s up to us to do everything we can (to) build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard.Second, American leadership in this world really is indispensable. It’s up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order that’s expanded steadily since the end of the Cold War, and upon which our own wealth and safety depend.Third, we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them.And finally, take time, in the rush of events and responsibilities, for friends and family. They’ll get you through the inevitable rough patches.
Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.