The morning after Donald Trump said that he would not necessarily accept the outcome of the presidential race (“What I'm saying is: I'll tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense, okay?”), a 23-year-old Inauguration Day letter from George H.W. Bush to incoming president Bill Clinton is being hailed as an example of grace and dignity in defeat.
Clinton defeated the incumbent Bush in 1992, but the president was all class in welcoming his one-time rival to office. In the letter, Bush wishes Clinton “great happiness” in his new role and advises him, in effect, that haters gonna hate. “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,” he wrote. “You will be our president when you read this note. I wish you well,” Bush continued. “Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck.” The letter has resurfaced a few times in the more than two decades since the first President Bush penned it, but is drawing praise for its respectful tone, one that many feel is missing from the current election cycle. “I so miss the integrity of former real Presidential races,” one person commented on Twitter. At the final debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday night, Trump suggested — not for the first time — that he might not accept the outcome of the election, and that there are “millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn't be registered to vote.” (An investigation by The Washington Post found only 31 credible incidents in over a billion ballots cast in various kinds of elections from 2000 through 2014.) Trump didn’t disavow his previous statements that the election is rigged against him. “I’ll look at it at the time,” Trump told moderator Chris Wallace. “I'm not looking at anything now.” Campaign officials have said that the campaign will accept the results of the election.