Obama has offered a gracious welcome to Trump, saying he is rooting for him and there will be a smooth handover. Well, someone should tell his staff this. They are still crying and thinking the world will end.
President Barack Obama is rooting for President-elect Donald Trump‘s success, he said Wednesday afternoon during a nine-minute address in the White House Rose Garden – but his clearly devastated staff didn’t look so sure.
With Vice President Joe Biden at his side, a sometimes smiling but always composed Obama said Tuesday’s election in which his party’s nominee lost the nation’s highest office was a setback for his agenda but not for the nation.
‘We are now all rooting for his success in uniting the country,’ he said.
‘Everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually on one team,’ Obama said.
‘This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We’re Americans first. We’re patriots first.’
After he spoke some of his staff openly wept at the result, one saying of the day: ‘I’m so sad’.
Obama’s call for calm came alongside similar statements from both Clinton and Trump. All three combined in a concerted effort to try and bring the nation together after a fractious and bitter election battle.
Obama said he has instructed his entire staff to cooperate with the Trump team during the 73 days before the January inauguration.
‘It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences,’ Obama declared.
But he said the same was true about President George W. Bush and himself eight years ago.
‘President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious,’ Obama recalled, saying he owed Team Trump the same opportunity to ‘hit the ground running.’
‘The presidency and the vice-presidency is bigger than any of us.’
Obama did not mention the less charitable fashion in which Bill Clinton’s White House staff greeted George W. Bush’s in 2001.
The General Accounting Office later determined that the Clinton-Bush transition left $15,000 in damage to the White House including ‘theft, vandalism, and pranks.’
That including prying the ‘W’ keys off computer keyboards, gluing desk drawers shut and leaving obscene outgoing voicemail messages on key phone lines.
But Obama said the next few months will be different and he will be ‘looking forward to doing everything I can to make sure that the next president is successful.’
The president spoke to an audience of at least 150 White House staff, including his close aides.
They lined up in the garden behind the press, listening intently. When he was done, they applauded for a solid minute. Many looked distraught and some were seen crying.
In his victory speech, Trump foreshadowed Obama’s call for national unity.
‘It’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. [We] have to get together,’ the president-elect said.
‘To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me.’
Hillary Clinton, too, called for Americans to delete their divisions.
‘We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America, and I always will,’ she said Wednesday morning in a belated concession speech.
‘And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power.’
After the speech, during a White House press briefing, spokesman Josh Earnest admitted that the administration did not have a clue what would happen to the Obama legacy like his transnational trade deal, his executive actions on immigration and the health care reform law.
Trump campaigned aggressively against Obama’s legacy and says he plans to throw them all out.
‘It’s difficult to offer a lot of precision in answering those questions today,’ Earnest stated.