It may seem like Barack Obama and Donald Trump couldn’t be more different from each other, but the president said there’s at least one thing the two have in common.
“He is somebody who is not lacking in confidence,” Obama said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News aired Sunday. “It’s probably a prerequisite for the job. Or at least you have to have enough craziness to think you can do the job.”
But in the wide-ranging interview, Obama suggested Trump’s confidence could harm his decision-making ability if it prevents the president-elect from “sweating the details” of policy.
“That can be both a strength and a weakness. I think it depends on how he approaches it,” Obama said. “If it gives him fresh eyes, then that can be valuable. But it also requires you knowing what you don’t know, and putting in place people who do have the kind of experience and background and knowledge that can inform good decision-making.”
“If you don’t have good people and you don’t have a good process, and you don’t have at some level the basic reverence for this office and understanding of the incredible responsibilities and obligations, then I think you can get into trouble,” Obama added.
Obama may have been referring in part to his meeting with Trump at the White House shortly after Trump’s election in November. After the meeting, reports emerged that the businessman was surprised by the scope of the presidency, prompting Obama to say he would work more closely with the president-elect throughout the transition of power.
Trump has also dismissed reports from top US intelligence officials that Russia interfered with the election, and admitted last month that he doesn’t attend the intelligence briefings presidents traditionally hold every day.
That’s the wrong attitude toward experts, Obama said.
“As much as I can dive into a briefing book and really work to master various subjects that come before my desk, I’m still not an expert on a huge amount of the stuff that we work on,” he said. “But I do make sure that I’ve got people who are experts that are helping me make the best decisions possible.”
Watch the ABC News interview here »
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