EUROPEAN PRESS AGENCY
US President-elect Donald Trump has said it was a “great honour” to meet President Barack Obama for transition talks at the White House.
Mr Obama said he was “encouraged” by their “excellent” and “wide-ranging” conversation, which lasted for more than an hour.
Mr Trump has questioned Mr Obama’s US citizenship and vowed to dismantle his legacy in the past.
During the campaign, Mr Obama called Mr Trump “uniquely unqualified”.
However, Mr Obama said he was “rooting” for him after his shock defeat of Hillary Clinton.
After their behind-closed-doors meeting in the White House, Mr Obama said: “My number one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful.”
He said they had discussed domestic and foreign policy and he had been “very encouraged” by Mr Trump’s interest in working with President Obama’s team on issues facing the US.
Mr Trump said he would “very much look forward” to dealing with President Obama in future.
- Latest updates
- President Trump’s possible cabinet
- Trump presidency: Questions answered
- Should anyone worry about Trump victory?
- What will President Trump do first?
- Six ways the world could change
- What went wrong for Hillary Clinton?
- A Democratic Party in disarray
“I have great respect, the meeting lasted for almost an hour and a half, and it could’ve, as far as I’m concerned, it could’ve gone on for a lot longer,” the president-elect said.
“We discussed a lot of different situations – some wonderful and some difficulties.”
President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office. AP
On Wednesday, thousands took to the streets of major US cities denouncing Mr Trump after his shock defeat of Hillary Clinton.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest has insisted Mr Obama is sincere about ensuring a smooth handover.
Mr Trump flew from New York on his private jet and landed at Reagan National Airport, just outside the nation’s capital.
The president-elect was accompanied by his wife, Melania, who had a meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama.
President Obama congratulated his successor in a phone call in the early hours of Wednesday.
The defeated Mrs Clinton also told supporters Mr Trump had to be given a “chance to lead”.
Despite the pleas for unity, protesters gathered across the country on Wednesday. Many chanted: “Not my president.”
- In New York, thousands marched on Trump Tower. Sixty-five people were arrested
- During demonstrations in Oakland, California, some shop windows were smashed and missiles hurled at riot police, who responded with tear gas
- A mass anti-Trump rally shut down the key 101 freeway in Los Angeles
- In Chicago, crowds blocked the entrance to Trump Tower, chanting: “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascists USA”
- Protests also took place in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon
Mr Obama and Mr Trump have a history of mutual hostility.
Mr Trump led the charge in challenging the legitimacy of Mr Obama’s presidency through the “birther” movement, which falsely claimed the Hawaii-born commander-in-chief was actually born outside the US.
The businessman also called Mr Obama “the worst president in the history of the United States”.
For his part, the president famously skewered Mr Trump in person at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, which some have suggested may have spurred the New York billionaire to seek revenge.
With the Republicans now holding a majority in both chambers of the US Congress, Mr Trump can more easily target key Obama initiatives like such as his healthcare reforms.
Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, a favourite among social conservatives, is also meeting behind closed doors on Thursday with Vice-President Joe Biden, one of the Democratic party’s most popular figures.
Mr Trump is already setting up bilaterals ahead of his January inauguration as the nation’s 45th US president.
The office of British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday that the president-elect had invited her in a phone call to visit him “as soon as possible”.
Ms May’s office said in a statement that Mr Trump had praised the trans-Atlantic “special relationship” while discussing his “close and personal connections” with the UK.
Mr Trump has family and business ties to Scotland.
The president-elect’s transition team for the 10-week period until inauguration will be led by Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey.
Mr Trump, who has never held elected office, has said his immediate priorities will be restoring the country’s infrastructure and doubling its economic growth.
As president-elect, Mr Trump is entitled to get the same daily intelligence briefing as President Obama, which includes information on covert US operations and other data gathered by America’s 17 intelligence agencies.
Mr Trump’s team is understood to be focused on quickly filling key national security posts.
It is not yet clear who will sit his cabinet or fill senior posts in his administration, such as chief of staff, but several figures in his inner circle have been mentioned.
Tags: Barack Obama, Britain, British Prime Minister, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Oval Office, president-elect Donald Trump, Reagan National Airport, Theresa May, Trump's private jet, UK, White House