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Obama, Trump meet in White House to begin transition of power

White House staff await the arrival of US president-elect Donald Trump for a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House, on Thursday. Photo: AFP.

United States President Barack Obama greeted President-elect Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday to coordinate a smooth transfer of power after the New York real estate developer scored a stunning election victory, Reuters reports.

The two men have had almost no one-on-one contact previously. Trump, a Republican, led the “birther” movement that questioned Obama’s U.S. citizenship and has pledged to overturn the Democrat’s signature policy achievements after he takes office on Jan. 20

Obama campaigned vigorously for Trump’s Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and called Trump both temperamentally unfit for the presidency and dangerously unprepared to have access to U.S. nuclear codes.

Obama and Trump will seek to put their tensions behind them, at least for the cameras, during their Oval Office meeting.

First lady Michelle Obama will also meet privately with Trump’s wife, Melania, in the White House residence.

On Wednesday, Obama said that despite his major differences with Trump, he would follow the lead of former Republican President George W. Bush in 2008 and ensure a smooth handover to Trump.

“Eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences, but President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition,” Obama said. “So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set.”