The Slatest

The Obamas and Trumps Exchange an Awkward Greeting at the White House

Tradition holds that the outgoing president and first lady receive the incoming president and first lady at the White House the morning of the inauguration. The two couples then get a moment to chat in private before heading to the inauguration together, one moment among many meant to represent and cement the peaceful transfer of power in this country. Reality, meanwhile, holds that moment in particular can often be an awkward affair. Friday’s certainly was.

“Mr. President-elect, how are you?” President Obama said before shaking the hand of a man who spent years attempting to delegitimize his presidency. “Good to see you. Congratulations.” The official photograph of the two couples was then delayed for a few moments as the Obamas tried to figure out what to do with a gift that the Trumps had brought along with them. “Hold on a sec,” the president said as he took the gift from his wife. “We will take care of protocol.”

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Update, 10:26 a.m.: While Michelle Obama appeared surprised to receive the Trumps’ gift, perhaps she shouldn’t have been: She brought her own gift along for the departing first lady back in 2008.

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