Rooting for Trump’s success: Obama

Succession plan: President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Wednesday. — PHOTO: AP  

Conceding Hillary Clinton’s staggering defeat, President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he was heartened by Donald Trump’s call for unity after his stunning victory and “we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country”.

Mr. Obama spoke to reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House in a post-election ritual meant to signal the peaceful transition of power from one President to the next. He vowed to do all he could to ensure a smooth transition and tried to buck up Democrats still reeling with disappointment and shock.

“We all want what’s best for this country,” Mr. Obama said, noting he was encouraged by Mr. Trump’s election night remarks urging reconciliation after an especially bitter and long contest.

An extraordinarily large number of Obama aides and advisers — more than a hundred in all — gathered to hear his statement, including stenographers, low-level aides and White House Counsel Neil Eggleston.

The White House said Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump are due to meet on Thursday to discuss the handover of power and ongoing planning for the transition. Mr. Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning Wednesday to congratulate him on his stunning victory, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Mr. Obama’s eight years in office.

Blow to legacy

For Mr. Obama, handing over the White House to Trump is a devastating blow to his legacy and to his hopes for leaving a lasting imprint on the nation’s policies. Mr. Trump has vowed to rip up much of what Mr. Obama accomplished, including his signature health care law, the Iran nuclear deal and a painstakingly negotiated trade deal with Asia. With Republican control of both chambers of Congress, he will be well positioned to make good on that promises.

Mr. Obama also called Ms. Clinton after it became clear she’d lost the race. The White House said Mr. Obama had “expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country”.

It was unclear how substantive Mr. Obama’s call was with Mr. Trump, or how long it lasted, although the White House noted that Mr. Obama placed the call from his residence in the White House, rather than from the West Wing.

Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described it as a “warm conversation” and a “gracious exchange.” She said Mr. Trump had missed the President’s original call as Mr. Trump was speaking to supporters in New York, then called him back after leaving the stage.

Like Ms. Clinton and other Democrats, Mr. Obama didn’t appear to see Trump’s victory coming.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:29:58 PM |

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