[Fmr presidents George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter]
This is what American leadership and the peaceful transfer of power looks like.
In his biography of George W. Bush, Jean Edward Smith described the Bush transition to President-elect Obama in 2008.
"As part of the presidential transition, Barack Obama asked Bush if it would be possible for him to meet all the ex-presidents. Bush was happy to oblige, and organized a White House luncheon in the Oval Office on January 7. Bush and Obama were joined by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush.
"All the gentlemen here understand both the pressures and possibilities of this office," said Obama before the meeting. "For me to have the opportunity to get advice, good counsel and fellowship with these individuals is extraordinary, and I just want to thank the President for hosting us."
Bush was equally effusive. "We want you to succeed," he replied. "Whether we're Democrat or Republican we care deeply about this country. And to the extent we can we look forward to sharing our experiences with you. All of us who have served in this office understand that the office transcends the individual."
This is how an American President leads.
What we're seeing today is not normal. And we refuse to accept it.
As alumni of the George W. Bush administration, we followed our boss's lead and endeavored to make the transition to the Obama administration as seamless as possible.
Incoming officials obtained security clearances. We planned briefing books and prepared training exercises.
Because we are Americans first, we wanted to make sure that the next stewards of our democracy were ready to face any crisis on the first day.
This is how a democracy transitions. Let's not forget that.
Join us as we continue our work to promote integrity in public service.