In last night’s Presidential Debate, Republican nominee Donald J. Trump refused to say whether he would accept the results of the election (assuming he loses).
His statement is shocking and pretty much unprecedented in United States politics. Our tradition of democracy has allowed for the peaceful transition of power across parties dozens upon dozens of times — including in the year 1992.
In the 1992 election, incumbent President George H.W. Bush lost his bid for re-election to President Bill Clinton. President Bush, did not, however, throw a tantrum or refuse to accept the result. He respected the voters’ decision, and wrote this heartfelt note to the man who bested him.
Take a look:
Plain text version:
When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.
I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.
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.
You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.
Your success is now our country’s success. I am rooting for you.
This gracious note does not signal bitterness or resentment at his loss. It shows integrity and honor from a man who respects democracy more than he cares about his personal success. Donald J. Trump would do well to look at President George HW Bush as a model.