Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th US President took place on January 20. While outgoing President Donald Trump did not attend the inauguration ceremony, White House spokesperson Judd Deere told AFP that he left a letter for his successor before leaving office.

An image of a letter allegedly from Trump to President Biden began circulating on the internet. The one-line letter reads, “Joe, You know I won.” It also appears that the letter has been signed by Trump.

Grant Stinchfield of Newsmax tweeted the image and wrote, “I got a copy of the letter President Trump left behind for @JoeBiden.” It gained close to 1,000 retweets. (archived link)

Sharjah-based Hend bint Faisal Al Qasimi, Emirati princess of Al Qasimi family, also tweeted the image.

So did Padma Shri awardee Adnan Sami.

This image has been shared by multiple users on Twitter and Facebook. Along with English, the image has been shared in Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish and Japanese.

Alt News received several requests on our WhatsApp helpline number (+917600011160) and official Android application to authenticate the letter.

Fact-check

As per The Washington Post, the tradition of Presidential letters to successors started in 1989 when Ronald Reagan was passing the Presidential baton to his Vice President, George HW Bush. According to CNN, these letters are handwritten.

Trump has shirked several Presidential traditions including conceding election in a congratulatory phone call, welcoming the President-elect and the incoming First Lady to the White House and attending the successor’s inauguration. There was uncertainty around Trump upholding the norm of writing a letter to President Biden.

On January 20, President Biden was asked if Trump had offered him a letter at the Oval Office. He responded, “The president wrote a very generous letter,” referring to Trump. “Because it was private, I won’t talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous.”

Thus, Trump indeed wrote a letter to Biden but we do not know its contents.

Since the controversy around the letter, several versions have been shared satirically. (1,2,3,4)

Alt News compared an official letter by former president Trump to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representative in 2019. This letter was fact-checked by The New York Times. After a comparison with the viral image, we noticed that the date format [red] and the POTUS seal [green] in both letters are different.

A hoax letter was used to falsely claim that former US President Trump wrote a one-line letter to his successor President Biden that read, “Joe, You know I won.”

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.