President-elect Donald Trump’s transition into the White House is going “very, very smoothly,” he said Wednesday afternoon, hours after complaining on Twitter that President Barack Obama’s “roadblocks” had made for a rough changeover of power.
When asked by pool reporters whether he thought the transition was going smoothly, Trump replied: “Oh, I think very, very smoothly. Very good. You don’t think so?”
The reversal apparently comes after Trump and Obama spoke privately. “He phoned me,” Trump told reporters. “We had a very nice conversation.”
Trump, however, would not say whether he broached his roadblock allegations in his conversation with the president.
“We had a very general conversation,” he said. “Very, very nice. Appreciated that he called.”
After weeks of warm words and promises of a smooth transition in the wake of perhaps the most contentious presidential election in modern history, Trump accused Obama in a Wednesday morning tweet of throwing up “roadblocks.”
“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks,” he wrote, referring to the president by his initial. “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”
The two men, who had little positive to say about each other on the campaign trail, seemingly buried the hatchet during an Oval Office meeting that took place just days after Trump’s surprising victory in last month’s election. Obama and Trump have spoken multiple times since then and both expressed interest in a seamless transition between administrations.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday during the transition team’s daily conference call for reporters that “as the inauguration gets closer, both the current president and his team have been very helpful and generous with their time as far as the actual transition, the mechanics of the transition have gone, and I expect them to continue to speak fairly regularly.”
But Spicer also refused to tone down his boss’ Twitter rhetoric, telling reporters that the president-elect’s social media posts “speak for themselves, I think very clearly.”
The budding relationship between the president and president-elect has frayed in recent weeks, first over the assessment of the FBI and CIA that the Russian government launched cyberattacks targeting the U.S. electoral process with the intention of aiding Trump’s candidacy. Trump has been unwilling to concede the validity of that assessment, or even that Russia was behind the cyberattacks at all, a stance that prompted critical remarks from White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
The president-elect also lashed out this week at the Obama administration over its unwillingness to defend Israel at the United Nations against a resolution condemning it for new settlement activity.
He told reporters that Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Wednesday defending the U.S. abstention “really spoke for itself” and suggested the United Nations has failed to live up to its potential.
“When do you see the United Nations solving problems? They don’t,” he said. “They cause problems. So if it lives up to the potential, it’s a great thing. And if it doesn’t, it’s a waste of time and money.”
In an earlier tweet Wednesday, he said that “we cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect” and urged Israel to “stay strong” because his inauguration on “January 20th is fast approaching!”
Obama also has made veiled criticisms of Trump in various public remarks, indirectly attacking the president-elect multiple times during his end-of-year news conference and in his remarks Tuesday at Pearl Harbor, where he warned that “even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.”
And in an interview with CNN’s David Axelrod, his former senior adviser, Obama said he was confident that he could have won a third term in a race against Trump running on his “hope and change” message. The president-elect disagreed.
“President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me,” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon. “He should say that but I say NO WAY! – jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.”
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