Providing another example of how President Trump’s reaction to his election loss differs from other presidents’, Hillary Clinton on Tuesday posted a letter that an outgoing president, George H.W. Bush, wrote to an incoming one, Bill Clinton, in 1993.
“You will be our president when you read this note,” Mr. Bush, a Republican and the last incumbent to lose re-election, wrote to Mr. Clinton, his Democratic successor, on Inauguration Day. “Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck.”
“Here’s how it’s done in America,” Mrs. Clinton wrote on Instagram, describing the letter as “gracious.”
“Since the very beginning, American presidents have accepted the will of the people and participated in a peaceful transfer of power,” she wrote. “That’s what makes our democracy so unique, and so enduring.”
To be fair, Mr. Trump has 71 days to pen a similar note to Mr. Biden. But based on how things are going so far, that gesture appears unlikely. Mr. Trump has shattered Washington’s norms for four years, has yet to concede he lost the election and is stalling the start of a peaceful transition period, breaking from longstanding precedent.
Mr. Bush was the last one-term president before Mr. Trump. But the similarities stop there.
“Here’s the way we see it and the country should see it — that the people have spoken and we respect the majesty of the democratic system,” Mr. Bush said in the concession speech he delivered on election night in 1992. “I just called Governor Clinton over in Little Rock and offered my congratulations. He did run a strong campaign. I wish him well in the White House.”
Transitions have faced roadblocks before. The most recent — in 2016, when Mr. Trump prepared to take over from President Barack Obama — was rocky and behind schedule because of shake-ups on Mr. Trump’s team. Eight years earlier, Mr. Obama’s transition faced snags because he had to replace his head of personnel multiple times.