The Slatest

Trump Reportedly Appeared Not to Understand Scope of Presidency During Obama Meeting

President-elect Donald Trump meets with President Barack Obama on Thursday.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump didn’t plan for his presidential transition because he didn’t want to jinx himself and he and his aides might not have quite understood how big a task taking over the executive branch and running the country would be, according to anonymous sources quoted in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

The Journal noted that the announcement of Trump’s transition team was delayed by the removal of Chris Christie as head of that team. A senior aide to Trump also told the Journal that his top advisers were surprised by the win, which was another contributing factor to a slightly slower than normal transition.


From the Journal:

[B]efore Tuesday, [his top advisors] were unable to focus the New York businessman on the 73 days between the election and inauguration, a senior aide said. They said Mr. Trump didn’t want to jinx himself by planning the transition before he had actually won.


This delay has also been reportedly exacerbated by the fact that Trump and his team were unaware of the scope of the job of taking over the White House and even running the country, sources told the Journal.

From the paper:

During their private White House meeting on Thursday, Mr. Obama walked his successor through the duties of running the country, and Mr. Trump seemed surprised by the scope, said people familiar with the meeting. Trump aides were described by those people as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term.

After meeting with Mr. Trump, the only person to be elected president without having held a government or military position, Mr. Obama realized the Republican needs more guidance. He plans to spend more time with his successor than presidents typically do, people familiar with the matter said.

President-elect Trump named Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff on Sunday and Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist and senior counsel. Vice President–elect Mike Pence replaced Christie last week as head of the transition team.