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George Bush's outgoing letter to Bill Clinton is a lesson in dignity and respect

by Eun Kyung Kim /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Following Donald Trump’s refusal to say he'd accept the results of the upcoming election, a letter President George H.W. Bush penned to his successor in 1993 as he left the White House is making the rounds as an example of grace in defeat.

The handwritten Inauguration Day letter wishes “great happiness” to Bill Clinton, who defeated Bush in a crushing 1992 re-election bid.The outgoing president also offers encouragement and some basic advice for dealing with critics.

RELATED: Mike Pence: Donald Trump and I will accept election results if 'vote is fair'

“Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you,” Bush concludes.

Presidents writing letters to their successors and leaving them in the Oval Office on Inauguration Day is a White House ritual. George W. Bush left one for President Obama in 2009.

Ronald Reagan, in his note to the elder Bush, his vice president, famously counseled, "Don't let the turkeys get you down."

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George H.W. Bush's magnanimous sentiment contrasts the vitriolic tone Trump has used regarding next month’s general election.

During Wednesday night's presidential debate, the Republican nominee twice refused to say he would accept the election outcome if he loses the race.

That threat defies tradition when past presidential candidates have conceded to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

In response, several Twitter users found Bush's words worth sharing.

"A grace note from another age," one wrote.

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