Despite previous tense clashes and years during which Donald Trump questioned President Barack Obama’s American heritage, the president-elect called the president “a very good man” in Thursday’s much-anticipated White House meeting.
Trump said that he had “great respect” for Obama, saying that the two met for about an hour and a half in a meeting that was originally meant to be 10 to 15 minutes.
“As far as I’m concerned, it could have lasted a lot longer. We discussed a lot of different situations, some wonderful and some difficulties. I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including counsel. He explained some of the difficulties,” Trump said, according to a pool report. “Mr. President, it was a great honor being with you, and I look forward to being with you many more times in the future.”
Obama, for his part, reiterated the need for a smooth transition to ensure Trump’s success as president.
“My No. 1 priority in the next coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful, and I have been very encouraged by … [Trump’s] wanting to work with my team around many of the issues that this great country faces,” Obama said, adding that the two talked about foreign policy and domestic policy. “I believe that it is important for all, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together to deal with the many challenges we face.”
Obama also noted that first lady Michelle Obama had a chance to meet incoming first lady Melania Trump, and that they both had an “excellent conversation,” too.
“We want to make sure they feel welcome as they prepare to make this transition,” Obama added. “Most of all, I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”