Trump Left Biden a ‘Generous’ Note


Quick Take

Former President Donald Trump left a note for President Joe Biden, contrary to a popular claim online suggesting that he did not. Biden confirmed he received a letter, which he called “generous,” but did not disclose its contents.

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A popular tweet that migrated to left-leaning Facebook pages wrongly claims that former President Donald Trump would not leave a note for his successor. In fact, President Joe Biden confirmed that Trump did leave him a letter.

“No presidential note to be left behind from trump to Biden,” the tweet, originally posted Jan. 19, reads. It went on to say that there was “No First Lady Invitation to the incoming First Lady,” which appears to be correct; daughter Ashley Biden said in an interview that Jill Biden had not heard from Melania Trump about the tour and meeting between First Ladies that typically occurs on inauguration day. The tweet concluded: “These people leaving the White House are lowlife TRASH.”

A screenshot of the tweet was then posted on the day of the inauguration on the “Occupy Democrats” and “Being Liberal” Facebook pages, where the post collectively accrued more than 7,000 shares. But the claim about the letter was proven wrong the same day.

At the White House, Biden confirmed that Trump did leave him a letter, but declined to relay what it said.

“The president wrote a very generous letter,” Biden said (3:16) when asked about the letter, after signing several executive orders in the Oval Office. “Because it was private I will not talk about it until I talk to him, but it was generous.”

During a subsequent press briefing the same day, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also said she was in the room when Biden opened the letter and called it “both generous and gracious” (8:29).

The letter from an outgoing president to the incoming president has become a tradition during the transfer of power. Trump did break other traditions, of course, including his decision not to attend Biden’s inauguration.

Editor’s note: is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.


Behrmann, Savannah. “Here are the customary things Trump did not do leading up to Biden’s inauguration.” USA Today. 20 Jan 2021.

President Biden Signs Executive Orders.” C-SPAN. 20 Jan 2021.

TODAY (@TODAYshow). “‘No, I don’t think they’re doing the traditional protocol, which is unfortunate, but I think we’re all OK with it.’ -Ashley Biden says Melania Trump is joining with President Trump in breaking with traditional protocol when it comes to the presidential transition.” Twitter. 19 Jan 2021.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Holds First Briefing.” C-SPAN. 20 Jan 2021.

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