Trump, who appeared nervous and uncharacteristically subdued beside Obama, called the president “a good man.”
For years, Trump questioned Obama’s birthplace and legitimacy, branded the nation’s first black president weak and called his tenure a disaster.
On Thursday at the White House, the once-unimaginable happened: The two men met face to face for the first time for a 90-minute discussion in the Oval Office and shook hands, making a public show of putting their bitter differences aside.
“I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed, then the country succeeds,” Obama told Trump after the meeting as the two sat side by side two days after Trump’s stunning election upset imperiled Obama’s legacy.
The president called the conversation “excellent” and said he had been “encouraged” by Trump’s interest in working with him and his team.
Trump, who appeared nervous and uncharacteristically subdued beside Obama, called the president “a good man.” He said that the meeting was “a great honor” and that their conversation had lasted far longer than he would have expected.
“I have great respect,” Trump said, turning to face Obama. “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.”
Given that Trump has never held elective office or served in government, some administration aides suggest that Obama could play a larger-than-usual role in acquainting Trump with the demands of the office.
“The meeting might’ve been at least a little less awkward than some might have expected,” said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary.
Aides said that the two men discussed foreign and domestic policy issues that Trump would need to deal with on Day One in the Oval Office. As early as Friday, the president-elect will get a version of the President’s Daily Brief, a classified compilation of all threats facing the United States and other highly significant intelligence information.