The outgoing President Trump did maintain one tradition: He left a letter in the Oval Office for his successor. What it says is unknown, with USA Today reporting a White House rep said only, "It's a letter between 45 and 46." President Biden elaborated slightly Wednesday night while speaking to reporters from the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. "The President wrote a very generous letter," Biden said. "Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him, but it was generous." CNN spoke with a senior Trump aide who said the "personal note" wished for success for the country and a desire for the new administration to care for it. Mike Pence left a letter for Kamala Harris as well. Politico recaps the fairly short history of the tradition, which dates to the end of then-President Reagan's term.
The few lines he left for his own VP, George HW Bush, were penned on the top page of a notepad that UPI reported at the time featured a cartoon of turkeys trying to tug down an elephant on each page. The caption: "Don't let the turkeys get you down." Reagan's 1989 message read, "Dear George. You'll have moments when you want to use this particular stationery. Well, go to it. George, I treasure the memories we share and wish you all the very best. You'll be in my prayers. God bless you and Barbara. I'll miss our Thursday lunches. Ron." When Bush left office four years later, he left for Bill Clinton what Politico calls "arguably the most famous of these letters." The standout lines: "Your success is now our country's success. I am rooting hard for you." (Read more President Trump stories.)