A new profile on Barack Obama gives more detail on Donald Trump’s apparent lack of familiarity with the scope of the presidency.
During Trump’s private meeting with Obama last week, the president-elect reportedly was surprised by the wide range of the president’s job, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The New Yorker editor David Remnick described some of the topics the two covered, as explained to him by some of Obama’s staff members:
“Obama told staff members that he had talked Trump through the rudiments of forming a cabinet and policies, including the Iran nuclear deal, counter-terrorism policy, health care — and that the President-elect’s grasp of such matters was, as the debates had made plain, modest at best. Trump, despite his habitual bluster, seemed awed by what he was being told and about to encounter.”
Despite Trump’s apparent “loose grasp of policy,” Obama and his team made sure to respect the traditional decorum displayed during a presidential transition — in part to preserve a shot at influencing Trump in the future, Remnick explained.
White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough also painted a less-than-rosy picture of the Trump transition effort. On the day after Election Day, he had chatted with the person Trump sent to learn how to staff and run the White House — Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“Everything’s great!” McDonough told The New Yorker, evidently with a struggle:
“He clenched his teeth and grinned harder in self-mockery. McDonough is the picture of rectitude: the ramrod posture, the trimmed white hair, the ashen mien of a bishop who has missed two meals in a row. “I guess if you keep repeating it, it’s like a mantra, and it will be O.K. ‘Everything will be O.K., everything will be O.K.'”
Read the full New Yorker profile here.
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