President Obama has spoken with President-elect Donald Trump at least once since their joint meeting at the White House earlier this month, CBS News has learned.
“As President-elect Trump indicated in the Oval Office, he was hoping that he would have the opportunity to consult with President Obama over the course of this transition,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a Tuesday briefing. “President Obama has committed to a smooth transition and as a result, they’ve spoken at least once since their Oval Office meeting.”
During a meeting with the New York Times, President-elect Trump said of the president, “I really liked him a lot,” and he told the Times that Mr. Obama told him “what he thought the biggest problems, in particular, one problem” was, though he declined to identify it. Mr. Trump also said of the president, “I think he’s looking to do absolutely the right thing for the country in terms of transition.”
News of their phone conversation emerged just as President Obama’s wrapped up his last overseas trip as the 44th commander-in-chief. On the last leg of the trip, in Peru, Mr. Obama expressed the desire not to criticize Mr. Trump, unless he feels it’s helpful or necessary to defend “our values and ideals.”
“I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off,” he said. “If I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes.”
CBS News’ Arden Farhi contributed to this report.