President Joe Biden described President Donald Trump’s outgoing letter to him as “very generous” Wednesday, but he declined to divulge exactly what was said.
Biden made the comment during his first public appearance in the Oval Office, where he kicked off his administration by signing a number of executive orders. Trump’s White House announced that he had left Biden a note on the Resolute Desk on Wednesday morning before departing for Florida. (RELATED: ‘I Will Be A President For All Americans’: President Joe Biden Pledges Unity In Inaugural Address)
“The president wrote a very generous letter, but because it is private I will not talk about it until I talk to him,” Biden said in response to reporters’ questions. “It was generous.”
It is tradition for outgoing presidents to leave notes for their successors, but it was unclear whether Trump would continue the tradition. Even as he departed the White House and Washington for the last time as president, he had not publicly conceded the election to Biden.
Biden spent his first oval office appearance signing three executive orders relating to COVID-19 and climate change. The first two require mask wearing and social distancing on federal property and ensure further “support for underserved communities.” The third order brings the U.S. back into the Paris Climate Accords, a longtime campaign promise from Biden.
There was a pile of additional orders Biden also plans to sign Wednesday, but details on them have yet to be released.
Trump and his family took off on Air Force 1 from Andrews Air Force Base at roughly 9 a.m., with the takeoff appearing timed with the final notes of Frank Sinatra’s song, “My Way.”
Just had to clip this. Air Force One takes off, perfectly timed to the end of “My Way,” carrying President-for-three-more-hours Trump to Florida — and then a transition to President-elect Biden and company at Cathedral of St. Matthew pic.twitter.com/yPorUSma09
— Emily (Larsen) Brooks (@emilyelarsen) January 20, 2021