WASHINGTON ― Early Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama called the man who long attempted to delegitimize his presidency to congratulate him for winning the race to serve in the office next.
Obama also called Clinton, a woman he endorsed and campaigned for, “and expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country,” according to a statement from White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The president is expected to make a public statement on Wednesday “to discuss the election results and what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season,” Earnest said.
The election has been far from normal ― not least because Trump became the presidential nominee for Republicans at all. He and Obama had a relationship that was more fraught than the typical one between people on opposing sides of a campaign.
Trump spent years pushing the untrue “birther” claim that Obama, the nation’s first black president, was not born in the U.S., and Obama campaigned hard against him as his successor.
But now the normal process for a transfer of power appears to be underway. Obama invited Trump to come to the White House on Thursday to discuss the transition plan his staff has already begun.
“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the President identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the President-elect is the next step,” Earnest said in the White House statement.
Obama urged Americans on Tuesday evening in a pre-taped video to keep faith in the country no matter the outcome of the race.
“While we’ve certainly seen some new things this time around, what isn’t new is that our democracy has always been rowdy and raucous,” he said in the video posted by BuzzFeed News. “We’ve been through tough and divisive elections before, and we’ve always come out stronger for it. That’s what makes America special.”
“Remember,” he said, “no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning and America will still be the greatest nation on Earth.”