The White House has now confirmed that President Donald Trump left behind a letter for President-elect Joe Biden to read when he takes office on Wednesday afternoon. Trump left the White House on Wednesday morning before Biden's inauguration, but his spokesperson Judd Deere told reporters that he left a note for Biden in the Oval Office. According to a report by Politico, the contents of the letter remain a mystery.
Many perceived Trump's letter to Biden as a rare acknowledgment of tradition by an otherwise unconventional president. It is typical for an outgoing president to leave a friendly note for their successor in the office, often to be revealed later to the public. The idea reportedly started with President Ronald Reagan, who wrote to President George H.W. Bush: "Don't let the turkeys get you down." Whether such a light-hearted missive from Trump to Biden is even possible remains in question.
Tensions have been high between Trump and Biden since early on in the 2020 presidential election. Long before the Democratic primaries were over, Trump publicly treated Biden as the party's candidate, assuming he would win its nomination. He was derided for his personal attacks on Biden — both on social media and in the debates.
Of course, the tensions had really built up over the last few months, when Trump refused to acknowledge the results of the election itself. Even after dozens of recounts, audits and lawsuits, Trump's team found no evidence of election tampering or voter fraud. However, Trump continued to insist that he had won, turning to unfounded conspiracy theories that the election had been "rigged" or "stolen."
Despite the utter lack of evidence for any conspiracy theories, many Americans believed them because they came straight from the president himself. On Jan. 6, Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol building, trashing public property, stealing sensitive information and taking five lives in the process.
In the aftermath, many confirmed that they had done so specifically because of Trump's conspiracy theories. With this in mind, there is no telling what Trump may have left for Biden in the Oval Office, nor whether it will be fit for public eyes. On the other hand, the letter may be as peaceful as those exchanged between other presidents of the last four decades. Trump is moving to a private residence in Florida on Wednesday, while Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.