Former US Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton have recorded a video together to send their good wishes to President Joe Biden for a smooth transition to power. The video was aired on Wednesday night hours after Biden took oath as the 46th President of the United States.
It begins with Obama’s remarks. “Obviously there is a personal element to see my former Vice-President become the 46th President and to see Kamala Harris as our first woman Vice-President. But more broadly, inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old,” he says.
Bush, the 43rd US President, says, “The fact that the three of us are standing here talking about a peaceful transfer of power speaks to the institutional integrity of our country. America is a generous country, people of great hearts. All three of us were lucky to be the president of this country.”
Clinton, 74, and America’s 42nd president says, “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 try to make a more perfect union. It’s an exciting time.”
“We have got to not just listen to folks we agree with but folks we don’t. One of my fondest memories of the inauguration was the grace and generosity that President Bush showed me, and Laura Bush showed Michelle. It was a reminder that we can have fierce disagreements and yet recognise each other’s common humanity and that as Americans we have more in common than what separates us,” Obama said.
Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump skipped the inauguration, a first since Richard Nixon in 1974.
If Americans loved their neighbours like they loved themselves, a lot of the division that is there in society would end, Bush says, to which Clinton adds that everybody needs to get off their “high horse” and reach out to their friends and neighbours. “I’m glad you’re there. And I wish you well,” he says.
“Mr. President, I am pulling for your success. Your success is our country’s success,” says Bush while Clinton says he is ready to march with Biden. “Good luck, God bless you!” he says.
Obama points out in the video that there is no problem that the Americans can’t solve if they work together, adding that this was also the theme of Biden’s inaugural speech. “Joe, I’m proud of you. You and Kamala need to know 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,” he says.