Donald Trump apparently doesn’t see much point in bashing President Obama anymore, but the same can’t be said for some of his supporters.
The crowd at the president-elect’s Friday afternoon “Get Out the-Vote” rally in Baton Rouge, La., lapped up most of his usual talking points on manufacturing and military might. Now that he’s won the presidency, the bona fide showman was not as vitriolic or impassioned as he had been on the campaign trail.
Trump even had kind things to say about Obama, whom he previously called “the worst president, maybe in the history of our country.”
“President Obama, who by the way I’ve gotten along with so well,” Trump told supporters during his speech at a Dow Chemical facility. The moment turned awkward: Trump’s fans went largely silent as scattered boos broke out in the audience before he could finish his sentence.
“No, no, no, he’s really doing great. He’s been so nice,” the president-elect said.
As part of his “thank-you” tour, Trump was in Louisiana to campaign for Republican John Kennedy in the state’s Senate runoff election. He made the Obama comments before vowing to place a five-year ban on executive branch officials from becoming lobbyists and a lifetime ban on them becoming lobbyists for foreign governments.
The relationship between Trump and Obama has been notoriously troubled. Among other things, Trump was for years a leading voice in the birther movement that spread fringe conspiracy theories about Obama’s citizenship.
For his part, Obama ruthlessly mocked Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner. And during this year’s presidential election, Obama said of Trump, “If somebody can’t handle a Twitter account, they can’t handle the nuclear codes.”
But just days after Trump’s general election victory, Obama welcomed Trump into the White House for a meeting that was cordial by all accounts. Talking to reporters after their meeting, Obama noted that his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, had been gracious despite their political differences, and instructed his staff to extend the same courtesy to his successor.
Despite their significant disagreements and history of insults, both parties appear to be cooperating as well as they can to preserve what’s considered a cornerstone of American democracy: the peaceful transition of power.