WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama wished President Joe Biden luck in a video recorded after the inauguration.
In the video, which appeared in Wednesday night’s “Celebrating America” inaugural concert, the presidents highlighted the importance of a peaceful transfer of power.
“Obviously, there was a personal element to seeing my former vice president become the 46th president, to see Kamala Harris as our first woman vice president,” said Obama. “But more broadly, I think inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transition of power that’s over two centuries old.”
Bush said their presence at the inauguration ceremonies reinforced that.
“Well, I think the fact that the three of us are standing here talking about the peaceful transfer of power speaks to the institutional integrity of our country,” said Bush.
Clinton spoke about the precarious situation Biden finds himself in as he begins his term in office.
“So, this is an unusual thing. We are both trying to come back to normalcy, deal with totally abnormal challenges, and do what we do best, which is to try to make a more perfect union. It’s an exciting time,” said Bill Clinton.
The trio then reiterated one of the main points Biden made in his inaugural speech – that Americans need to unite to move forward.
“We gotta not just listen to folks we agree with but listen to folks we don’t. And one of my fondest memories of the inauguration was the grace and generosity that President Bush showed me, and Laura Bush showed Michelle,” said Obama. “It was a reminder that we can have fierce disagreements and yet recognize each other’s common humanity and that as Americans, we have more in common than what separates us.”
“I think if Americans would love their neighbor like they’d like to be loved themselves, a lot of the division in our society would end,” said Bush.
“That’s what this means. It’s a new beginning. And everybody needs to get off their high horse and reach out to their friends and neighbors, and try to make it possible,” said Clinton.
Obama said America is at its best when its citizens are all moving in the same direction.
“America’s a generous country with people with great hearts. All three of us were lucky enough to be the president of this country,” said Bush before speaking directly to Biden. “Mr. President, I’m pulling for your success. Your success is our country’s success and God bless you.”
The video ended with Clinton and Obama wishing Biden luck and saying they’re rooting for him.
“I’m glad you’re there and I wish you well. You have spoken for us today. Now, you’ll lead for us and we’re ready to march with you. Good luck. God bless you,” said Clinton.
“Joe, I’m proud of you. And you and Kamala need to know that you’ve got all of us here rooting for your success, keeping you in our prayers and we will be available in any ways that we can as citizens to help you guide our country forward. We wish you God speed,” said Obama.
Noticeably absent from the video was former Presidents Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter. Both did not attend Biden’s inauguration. Instead, Trump traveled to his home in Florida, becoming the first president since Andrew Johnson to skip his predecessor’s swearing-in ceremony. As for Carter, he likely stayed home due to his risk of severe illness from the coronavirus.
Before Trump boarded his plane to Florida, he did deliver remarks and say he thinks the new administration will have “great success.”