The Obamas Just Took A Small, Potent Stand Against Their Future President
On Thursday, Donald Trump met with President Obama at the White House in what many suspected would be a tense encounter. While on Wednesday, Obama offered a hopeful speech for the nation and referred to Trump as "our president," not all fences may be mended. The Wall Street Journal noted the Obamas canceled the photo-op with the Trumps.
The Wall Street Journal also noted that the Obamas had posed with the Bushes in 2008 during the analogous transition meeting. However, it's no secret that the split between Obama and Trump extends well beyond the typical Democratic-Republican divide. Trump was one of the driving proponents of the "birtherism" myth, claiming that Obama was not actually born in the United States and, thus, not permitted to be president. Trump also claimed during his presidential campaign that Obama was the "founder of ISIS."
In turn, while stumping for Hillary Clinton, Obama has argued that Trump is "temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief" and called him "unqualified to be America's chief executive." Still, on Wednesday, almost immediately after Clinton gave her concession speech, Obama stressed national unity, calling the presidential election an "intramural scrimmage" because "we are all on the same team." He also said he was "rooting for his [Trump's] success in uniting and leading the country."
During Thursday's meeting, Obama and Trump are in the Oval Office while Melania Trump and Michelle Obama tour the White House residence, The Wall Street Journal noted. Vice President Joe Biden will meet with Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, later in the afternoon, around 2:45 p.m.
The transition between presidents is a rigorous endeavor, involving a massive transfer of intel and shifts in staffing. Obama's deputy chief of staff, Anita Decker Breckenridge, told the New York Times, "As everyone has been ramping down and wrapping things up elsewhere around this building, I have been ramping up here for this next phase."
What exactly this "next phase" will entail for the country — whether in regards to health care, abortion access, LGBTQ rights, and national security — is the big question mark.