Despite the apparent cancellation of a traditional photo-op featuring the incoming and outgoing First Couples, President Barack Obama met with President-elect Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday. The 90-minute meeting, which was originally supposed to last no longer than 10 minutes, concluded with the two ideologically opposed (if not outright combative) men sitting together to deliver brief statements to the press.
“We talked about some of the organizational issues in setting up the White House. We talked about foreign policy. We talked about domestic policy,” said Obama, adding: “As I said last night, my number one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures that our president-elect is successful”:
“It is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together to deal with the many challenges that we face. In the meantime, Michelle has had a chance to greet the incoming First Lady, and we had an excellent conversation with her as well. We want to make sure that they feel welcome as they prepare to make this transition.”
For his part, Trump echoed the cordial sentiments of his victory speech late Tuesday night, saying he looked forward to “dealing with the president in the future” and seeking his “counsel”:
“He explained some of the difficulties, some of the high-flying assets, and some of the really great things that have been achieved. So Mr. President, it was a great honor being with you and I look forward to being with you many, many times in the future.”
Neither took questions despite the assembled White House press pool’s shouted attempts. With a smile on his face, Obama turned to Trump and joked, “This is a good rule: Don’t answer any questions when they just start, you know.” Trump smiled back and called the president “a very good man.”
Whether or not he was smiling when, and if, he broached Trump’s “birtherism” during their meeting, however, remains to be seen.