WASHINGTON — President Obama said in the Oval Office today that his first sit-down with the president-elect, Donald Trump, spanned a number of issues and was an “excellent” chat.
Trump and his entourage, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and social media director Dan Scavino, arrived at the White House via the South Lawn and were escorted into the Oval Office by chief of staff Denis McDonough.
Obama and Trump then faced the cameras as they sat in chairs in front of the fireplace.
“It was wide-ranging. We talked about some of the organizational issues in setting up a White House. We talked about foreign policy. We talked about domestic policy,” Obama said of their conversation. “And as I said last night, my number one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful.”
“And I had been very encouraged by the, I think, interest in President-elect Trump’s wanting to work with my team around many of the issues that this great country faces. And I believe that 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.”
Michelle Obama met with Melania Trump, “and we had an excellent conversation with her as well — and we want to make sure that they feel welcome as they prepare to make this transition.”
“And most of all, 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 said.
Trump said it was a meeting “that was going to last for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and we were just going to get to know each other. We had never met each other.”
“I have great respect,” he added. “The meeting lasted for almost an hour and a half. And it could have — as far as I’m concerned, it could have gone on for a lot longer.”
Trump said they “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’s — he explained some of the difficulties, some of the high-flying assets, and some of the — some of the really great things that have been achieved,” he continued.
“So, Mr. President, it was a great honor being with you and I look forward to being with you many, many more times in the future. Thank you for having me.”
When press started to try to ask questions, Obama quipped to Trump, “Here’s a good rule: Don’t answer any questions when they just start.”
As the press pool was being led out, Trump called Obama “a very good man” several times.