The United States President-elect Donald Trump yesterday broke protocol by barring journalists from his first meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House.
At the end of the meeting, Obama described his conversation with Trump as “excellent” and “wide-ranging”, and stressed that his number one priority was facilitating a smooth transition of power.
Trump said he looked forward to dealing with Obama in the future, calling it a “great honour.”
The White House said that long before Trump’s stunning upset over Hillary Clinton became apparent, Obama directed officials last year “to make a smooth transition between administrations a top priority” of his last year in office.
It said officials were making sure Trump and his yet-to-be-named key officials were “prepared from day one to protect our national security.”
U.S. intelligence and defence officials have already started to give Trump daily briefings on threats to the country’s security and overseas military operations.
In addition, the Obama administration plans to host two exercises involving several government agencies to help familiarise Trump officials with how the government responds to domestic emergencies, whether terrorist attacks or such natural disasters as violent tornadoes and hurricanes.
Trump had questioned Obama’s U.S. citizenship and vowed to dismantle his legacy. During the campaign, Obama called Trump “uniquely unqualified” but later said he was “rooting” for him.
On Wednesday, thousands took to the streets of major U.S. cities denouncing Trump after his defeat of Clinton.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest insisted Obama was sincere about ensuring a smooth handover.
Trump flew from New York on his private jet and landed at Reagan National Airport, just outside the nation’s capital.
He was accompanied by his wife, Melania, who had a meeting with First Lady Michelle.
Obama, who congratulated his successor in a phone call in the early hours of Wednesday, said it was “no secret” that he and Trump had pretty significant differences.
But the Democratic president, who had campaigned against Trump, urged all Americans to accept the result of the presidential election.
Obama and Trump have a history of mutual hostility.Trump led the charge in challenging the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency through the “birther” movement, which falsely claimed the Hawaii-born commander-in-chief was actually born outside the U.S.
The businessman also called Obama “the worst president in the history of the United States.”
For his part, the president famously skewered Trump in person at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, which some have suggested may have spurred the New York billionaire to seek revenge.
With the Republicans now holding a majority in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, Trump can more easily target key Obama initiatives such as his healthcare reforms.
Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, a favourite among social conservatives, also met behind closed doors with Vice-President Joe Biden, one of the Democratic party’s most popular figures.
Trump is already setting up bilaterals ahead of his January inauguration as the nation’s 45th president.
The office of British Prime Minister, Theresa May, said yesterday that the president-elect had invited her in a phone call to visit him “as soon as possible.”
May’s office said in a statement that Trump had praised the trans-Atlantic “special relationship” while discussing his “close and personal connections” with the U.K.
Trump has family and business ties to Scotland.
The president-elect’s transition team for the 10-week period until inauguration will be led by Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey.
Trump, who has never held elected office, has said his immediate priorities would be restoring the country’s infrastructure and doubling its economic growth.