White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama stands by his characterization of President-elect Donald Trump as fundamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.
On multiple occasions during a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Earnest was asked about statements Obama made about Trump on the campaign trail in which he characterized Trump as fundamentally unfit and unprepared for the job.
Asked whether the President still considers Trump “temperamentally unfit” and “uniquely unqualified” after the pair met for the first time Thursday morning, Earnest said that Obama stood by those remarks.
“Look, the president’s views haven’t changed,” Earnest said. “He stands by what he said on the campaign trail. He had an opportunity to make his argument. He made that argument vigorously. He made that argument in states all across the country. But the American people decided.”
“The election is over,” he continued. “The President didn’t get to choose his successor. The American people did. They’ve chose President-elect Trump and President Obama is determined to preside over a transition that gives the incoming president the opportunity to get a running start.”
Earnest also emphasized that the meeting between Obama and Trump was not meant to resolve their own personal or political divisions.
“I feel confident in telling you they did not resolve all their differences. I also feel confident in telling you, they didn’t try to resolve all their differences,” Earnest said. “Based on the kind of agreement that was evident about the priority that they both place on a smooth transition, it sounds like the meeting might have been at least a little less awkward than some might have expected.”
“The meeting was not convened to try to resolve the variety of concerns that President Obama had raised on the campaign trail,” he said later. “The meeting was focused on the transition and it went well.”