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Obama call appears to smooth tensions with Trump

President-elect Donald Trump shook hands with President Barack Obama after a meeting at the White House last month.Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President-elect Donald Trump signaled Wednesday morning that the honeymoon was over for him and outgoing President Barack Obama, but later in the day the rift appeared to be patched over.

The Republican said on Twitter just after 9 a.m. Eastern that he “thought it was going to be a smooth transition - NOT!”

Around 3:30 p.m., at President-elect Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, he was asked by a pool reporter how he thought his transition was going.

“Oh, I think very, very smoothly. Very good. You don’t think so?” he said.

During the day, President Obama phoned Trump from Hawaii, where Obama is on vacation with his family. The White House says the call was ‘‘positive’’ and focused on ‘‘continuing a smooth and effective transition.’’


White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama’s other calls with Trump since the election were also positive. He said Obama and Trump agreed that their teams will keep working together until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

Trump also confirmed Wednesday’s call to reporters, but he did not discuss details of their talk.

“He called me, we had a very nice conversation,” Trump said. “We had a general conversation. Very, very nice.”

Trump’s remarks come the same week that Obama told a former adviser in a podcast that he is confident that he could have won the 2016 presidential election if he were allowed to seek a third term in office.

Trump was quick to respond on Twitter, commenting on Obama at least once every day since the podcast was released.

The two men had appeared conciliatory after a bitter campaign, even shaking hands after meeting each other at the White House last month.

“We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” Obama had said, pledging a smooth transition.


Earlier this month, Trump told the “Today” show he and Obama “have a really good chemistry together.”

“I really like him as a person,” Trump said at the time.

Tensions publicly emerged, however, over a draft resolution before the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Trump pressured the Obama administration to veto the resolution, which he said would put “Israel in a very poor negotiating position” with the Palestinians.

The US did not vote on the measure, which cleared it to pass on Friday.

Trump touched on the issue after publicly criticizing the transition, calling for Israel to “stay strong.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump for his “warm friendship” and “clear-cut support.”

The tweets came before an anticipated speech from Secretary of State John Kerry, who fiercely defended a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The real estate mogul has also continued to speak highly of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, even as key Republican senators have demanded for a bipartisan inquiry into election-related hacking from that country.

Trump agreed with Putin’s comments criticizing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her party for blaming Russian hacking for their losses.

Trump also praised a letter he says he received from Putin in which the Russian leader expressed a wish “to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas” with the incoming administration.


The willingness to openly challenge Obama, particularly on foreign policy, breaks from the longstanding custom of observing a “one president at a time” policy as power changes from one commander in chief to another.

Material from the Associated Press and pool reports was used in this report. Nicole Hernandez can be reached at nicole.hernandez@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @NRHSJax.