Obama invites Trump to meet, congratulates him on victory
Conceding his party's staggering electoral defeat, President Barack Obama yesterday invited President-elect Donald Trump to meet with him to discuss the handover of power from his administration to Trump's.
The White House said Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential campaign, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama's eight years in office. The two leaders planned to meet today at the White House, where Obama was to update Trump about ongoing planning for the transition.
"Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the president-elect is the next step," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
For Obama, the act of holding the meeting is a humbling blow to his legacy and to his hopes for leaving a lasting imprint on the nation's policies. Trump has vowed to rip up much of what Obama accomplished, including his signature health care law, the Iran nuclear deal and a painstakingly negotiated trade deal with Asia.
Obama also called Hillary Clinton after it became clear she'd lost the race. The White House said Obama had "expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country."
It was unclear how substantive Obama's call was with Trump, or how long it lasted, although the White House noted that Obama placed the call from his residence in the White House, rather than from the West Wing.
Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described it as a "warm conversation" and a "gracious exchange." She said Trump had missed the president's original call as Trump was speaking to supporters in New York, then called him back after leaving the stage.