President Barack Obama has offered his congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump and vowed a smooth transition of power (video below).
On Nov. 9, Obama spoke before the White House, addressing an America that had just elected Trump, a man he has condemned as unqualified for the presidency. Obama revealed that he had called to congratulate the business mogul shortly after his stunning victory, The Washington Post reports.
The president added that while he had outspoken differences with Trump, he planned on affording the new administration the courtesy and respect that former President George W. Bush had given Obama back in 2008.
“Now, it is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences,” Obama said. “But remember, eight years ago President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running.”
Obama also offered praise to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who had run her campaign on the promise to protect his legacy and policies.
“I’m proud of her,” Obama said. “A lot of Americans look up to her. Her candidacy and nomination was historic and sends a message to our daughters all across the country that they can achieve at the highest levels of politics.”
Trump’s victory came as a profound shock to Obama and his team. David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager and an adviser to the Clinton campaign, took to social media to express his disbelief and miscalculation, Politico reports.
“Never been as wrong on anything in my life,” Plouffe tweeted.
The relationship between Trump and Obama was largely defined by the business mogul’s participation in the birther movement, which had questioned the birthright legitimacy of the country’s first African-American president.
In February, Obama stated that he was confident that American voters would ultimately reject Trump, a prophecy that proved to be incorrect.
“I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president, and the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people, and I think they recognize that being president is a serious job,” Obama said of the business mogul, who then was only a presidential hopeful contending in the GOP primary.
Now, Obama has expressed his hopes that a President Trump will be successful in unifying the country and doing right by its citizens.
“We’re not Democrats first,” Obama said. “We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. ... [U]ltimately we’re all on the same team.”
Obama will meet with Trump at the White House on Nov. 10.