Trump Team Sends Mixed Messages on Relations With Obama’s White House

President Donald Trump (Rob Kunzig/Morning Consult)

Donald Trump on Wednesday said the transition of power is being hindered by “roadblocks” and “inflammatory” statements from President Barack Obama, remarks that the president-elect’s incoming White House press secretary offered a different take on later that day.

“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning. “Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”

About 90 minutes later, in a previously scheduled press call with reporters, Sean Spicer said the transition between the outgoing and incoming administrations is going well.

“As the inauguration gets closer, both the current president and his team have been very helpful and generous with their time,” said Spicer, who will be White House press secretary after Trump takes office. “As far as the actual transition, the mechanics of the transition have gone, and I expect them to continue to speak fairly regularly.”

Spicer also said that Trump received an intelligence briefing on Wednesday. The president-elect will receive the briefing “three times a week,” Spicer said, adding that he will be briefed daily by his national security team.

Trump’s tweets about Obama this week are a sign of deteriorating relations between the two. In an interview on “The Axe Files” — a podcast produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN featuring Obama’s former senior adviser, David Axelrod — Obama suggested he would have won the 2016 presidential election had he been eligible to run for a third term. That prompted criticisms from Trump via Twitter on Monday and Tuesday.

Trump and Obama appeared to be on good terms after Election Day. Following a Nov. 10 meeting at the White House, Trump called Obama a “very good man” and said he would seek further advice from him. On Nov. 28, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Obama and Trump had spoken “a handful of times,” including a 45-minute phone call.

Later on Wednesday, when asked by reporters in Palm Beach, Fla., how the transition is going, Trump told the press pool: “Oh, I think very, very smoothly. Very good. You don’t think so?”

He later added that he spoke with Obama on Wednesday.

“He called me,” Trump said, according to a press pool report. “We had a very nice conversation.”

Update: This story was updated at 6:33 p.m. to include more remarks from Trump.

Morning Consult