People gather outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, as they wait for the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump to the White House for his meeting with President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Obama invites Trump to meet, congratulates him on victory
November 10, 2016
President Barack Obama invited President-elect Donald Trump to meet with him to discuss the handover of power from his administration to Trump's.
The White House said Obama, a Democrat, called the Republican in the early hours of Nov. 9 to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential campaign. The result marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama's eight years in office. The two leaders will meet today, Thursday, Nov. 10, at the White House. Obama was to update Trump about planning for the transition.
Obama was to offer his first reaction to the election in a televised statement. The White House said Obama would focus on "what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season."
"Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the president identified at the beginning of the year. And a meeting with the president-elect is the next step," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
For Obama, the act of holding the meeting is a blow to his legacy and to his hopes for leaving a lasting imprint on the nation's policies. Trump has vowed to overturn much of what Obama accomplished. They include his signature health care law, the Iran nuclear deal and a painstakingly negotiated trade deal with Asia.
Obama also called Hillary Clinton after it became clear she'd lost the race. The White House said Obama had "expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country."
It was unclear how substantive Obama's call was with Trump. Or, how long it lasted. The White House noted that Obama placed the call from his residence in the White House, rather than from the West Wing.
Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described it as a "warm conversation" and a "gracious exchange." She said Trump had missed the president's original call as Trump was speaking to supporters in New York. Trump called him back.
Like Clinton and other Democrats, Obama didn't appear to see Trump's victory coming. As he campaigned vigorously for Clinton, Obama said he was confident that when Americans voted, they'd choose against electing the billionaire. Trump made his fortune in real estate. He also is a former reality TV star. He has no formal government experience.
Obama had warned supporters that "the fate of the republic" rested on Clinton defeating Trump on Election Day.
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why were so many people surprised by Trump's victory?
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