Speaking from the White House Rose Garden Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama promised a smooth transition of power to President-elect Donald Trump.
Obama quipped that it’s “no secret” that he and the Republican had “some pretty significant differences” while Trump campaigned to be his successor.
Yet still, Obama said Wednesday that he is “heartened” by his own direct conversation with Trump earlier that morning as he believes Trump wants what is best for the country.
“That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law and respect for each other,” he said with Vice President Joe Biden by his side. “I hope that he maintains that respect through this transition, and I certainly hope his presidency will have a chance to begin.”
Obama said he has invited Trump to the White House on Thursday to ensure that “there is a successful transition between our presidencies.”
“Remember eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional, more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running,” Obama said, adding that he’s instructed his staff to follow Bush’s “example.”
Obama spent ample time on the campaign trail for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — especially over the past few weeks — and praised his former secretary of state for her “extraordinary life of public service.”
“I’m proud of her. A lot of Americans look up to her,” Obama said. “Her candidacy and nomination was historic and sends a message to our daughters all across the country.”
He added, “I’m absolutely positive she and President [Bill] Clinton will continue to do great work for people here in the United States and all around the world.”
Obama implored younger Americans not to be discouraged by the election results.
“This was a long and hard-fought campaign. A lot of our fellow Americans are exulted today, a lot of Americans are less so,” he said. “But that’s the nature of campaigns, that’s the nature of democracy. It’s hard and sometimes contentious and noisy. It’s not always inspiring.”
“That’s the way politics works sometimes — we try really hard to persuade people that we’re right,” Obama continued. “The point is, we all go forward with the presumption of good faith in our fellow Americans because that presumption of good faith is essential to a vibrant and functioning democracy.”