At Monday’s White House press briefing, ABC’s Martha Raddatz lobbed President Obama a question designed to get him to criticize President-Elect Donald Trump.
He declined to humor her request.
“With some of the harsh words you had about Mr. Trump — calling him temperamentally unfit to be Commander-in-Chief — did anything surprise you when you met with President-Elect Trump in your office?” Raddatz asked Obama. “Also I want to know does anything concern you about a Trump presidency?
“Well, we had a very cordial conversation,” Obama responded. “That didn’t surprise me to some degree because I think he is obviously a gregarious person. He’s somebody who, I think, likes to mix it up and to have a vigorous debate, and what’s clear is that he was able to tap into, yes the anxieties but also the enthusiasm of his voters in a way that was impressive.”
“And so I said so to him because I think that to the extent that there were a lot of folks who missed the Trump phenomenon, that connection that he was able to make with his supporters, that was impervious to events that might have sunk another candidate, that’s powerful stuff,” POTUS added.
Obama further noted Trump “is coming to this office with fewer set hard and fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with.”
“I don’t think he is ideological,” Obama continued. “I think ultimately he is pragmatic in that way, and that can serve him well as long as he’s got good people around him and he has a clear sense of direction.”
The president conceded that “of course” he has concerns about President-elect Trump, considering the majorities Democrats held when he was first elected and the amount of legislation his administration was actually able to enact.
“When I came into office, it took a lot of really hard work for us to make significant policy changes,” he stated. “Even in our first two years when we had larger majorities than Mr. Trump will enjoy when he comes into office.”
“One of the things I advised him to do was to make sure that before he commits to certain courses of action, he’s really dug in and thought through how various issues play themselves out.”