President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were face-to-face on Thursday at Oval office, White House, to work together after their first-ever meeting, starting the whirlwind transition that will unfold over the next 10 weeks until Trump is sworn into office on January 20.
During brief remarks to reporters, Obama referred to Trump as “Mr. President-elect” and sought to reassure the country that a smooth and orderly handoff was his administration’s top priority. Trump, sitting next to him in an armchair under a portrait of George Washington, also struck a magnanimous note and pledged to seek Obama’s counsel in the coming weeks.
“We now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed,” Obama said, “because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”
The private meeting was one of several for Trump in Washington on Thursday. After leaving the White House, he met on Capitol Hill with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
After a flight on his private jet from New York City, Trump entered the White House through the South Lawn entrance, avoiding news cameras and the president’s staff, where he and Obama met for longer than expected.
Still, Trump told reporters Thursday that he expects to work closely with Obama now and in the future to seek his advice in guiding the country. He noted that a session that was supposed to last 10 to 15 minutes went on for an hour and a half.
“As far as I’m concerned, it could have lasted a lot longer,” Trump said. “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.”
“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,” he added, calling Obama “a very good man.”