Three former presidents urge unity and peaceful transition of power in Inauguration Day message

Three former presidents addressed the American people on Inauguration Day, calling for unity and stressing the importance of a peaceful transition of power. The video message from former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton aired Wednesday night during the “Celebrating America” virtual inauguration special hosted by Tom Hanks.

Mr. Obama, kicked things off, noting the “personal element” to seeing his former vice president being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

“More broadly,” Mr. Obama added, “I think inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old.”

“I think the fact that the three of us are standing here talking about a peaceful transfer of power speaks to institutional integrity of our country,” Mr. Bush chimed in.

Mr. Clinton called this “an exciting time,” though he did acknowledge the challenges the country is facing in the wake of the Capitol riots and still amid a pandemic.

In addition to highlighting the historical significance of the inauguration, the presidents urged Americans to come together, listen to each other and ultimately work together for the benefit of the country. Mr. Obama briefly touched upon how meaningful his inauguration experience was thanks to then-outgoing President Bush.

In a show of solidarity, all three men closed their video message with words of encouragement for President Biden. “Mr. President, I’m pulling for your success,” Mr. Bush concluded, “and your success is our country’s success and God bless you.”

“I’m glad you’re there and I wish you well. You have spoken for us today and now you will lead for us and we’re ready to march with you. Good luck, God bless you,” Mr. Clinton said.

Mr. Obama finished things off by vowing on behalf of all three former presidents to assist the Biden administration:

“Joe, I’m proud of you,” he said. “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 godspeed.”

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