President-elect Donald Trump celebrated his status as a Washington outsider during his campaign for the presidency.
But his lack of familiarity with the US government is coming into view as he transitions to the job in the White House.
During Trump’s private meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, Trump “seemed surprised” by the scope of the president’s responsibilities, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Trump’s aides were also apparently unaware that the entire staff of the president working in the White House’s West Wing would need to be replaced, according to the Journal.
Obama reportedly will spend more time counseling Trump about the presidency than most presidents do with their successors.
Trump and Obama were highly critical of each other during the campaign season, but appear to have struck a conciliatory tone since Trump’s election, at least publicly.
“I want to emphasise to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed, because if you succeed then the country succeeds,” Obama said to Trump in front of reporters on Thursday. Trump called Obama “a very good man” during the session. The Wall Street Journal’s has more here.
The WSJ report reflects a similar view taken by top Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a vocal critic of Donald Trump throughout the election cycle.
Last week Graham slammed the president-elect’s views on foreign policy in a wide-ranging interview with Business Insider.
He called Trump a “fool” when it comes to Russia, said the billionaire businessman has “zero idea” about how to defeat the terrorist group ISIS (also known as the Islamic State or ISIL), called his views on the NATO alliance “dangerous,” and said Trump “doesn’t know anything” about foreign policy writ large.
“To put ‘Donald Trump’ and ‘foreign policy’ in the same sentence is a stretch,” Graham said. “This is not his area. He doesn’t know anything about it. He doesn’t seem to be curious.”
Regardless, Graham, who ran for president himself during the Republican primary, will have to work with Trump in his coming administration. See what Graham thinks foreign policy will look like under President Trump here.
This follows Trump’s announcement on Sunday that his controversial campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, will play a major role in his administration, setting off a firestorm of criticism.
Bannon, who edited the alt-right news site Breitbart before joining the campaign, was named Trump’s chief strategist, the president-elect said in a statement. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus was named Trump’s chief of staff.
While the news didn’t come as a surprise — Bannon was expected to have a role in Trump’s staff — it triggered an outpour of criticism from pundits on social media.
Many users pointed to what they considered racially charged, discriminatory rhetoric used on Breitbart under Bannon’s leadership. John Weaver, an adviser to Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, said his appointment meant the “racist, fascist extreme right” was “footsteps from the Oval Office.”
The announcement comes after days of nationwide protests, during which thousands of people took issue with the tone of Trump’s campaign.
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