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President Barack Obama has 'excellent conversation' with Donald Trump at White House

By Eric DuVall
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President Barack Obama has 'excellent conversation' with Donald Trump at White House
U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 10, 2016. They talked for 90 minutes on a range of issues as the transition of power begins. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump visited the White House on Thursday for a closed-door meeting that President Barack Obama described as an "excellent conversation."

After that, Trump headed to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with Republican congressional leaders.

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The main show, however, was at the White House. The two men, political rivals during the campaign, were face-to-face for the first time, Trump said. Both were gracious, shaking hands and describing in broad strokes a 90-minute sit-down that included both technical elements of the transition and conversations about policy.

"Well, I just had the opportunity to have an excellent conversation with President-elect Trump," Obama said.

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"It was wide-ranging. We talked about some of the organizational issues, setting up the White House. We talked about foreign policy, we talked about domestic policy and, as I said last night, my No. 1 priority over the next two months is to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful," he said.

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Trump thanked Obama for the hospitality and said he looks forward to future meetings, as well.

"This was a meeting that was going to last for maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and we were just going to get to know each other. We had never met each other," Trump said. "I have great respect. The meeting lasted for almost an hour and a half. And it could have -- as far as I'm concerned, it could have gone on for a lot longer.

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"So, Mr. President, it was a great honor being with you, and I look forward to being with you many, many more times in the future."

The meeting happened amid press controversy on the second full day of Trump's transition, with him shunning the press pool that travels with him. Trump did not permit his traveling press pool to fly with him from New York to Washington for the meeting and after landing at Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C., Trump's motorcade proceeded directly to the White House, where he entered from the South Lawn.

Obama's press office allowed Trump's pool into the White House and granted them access to the Oval Office photo-op.

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The news agencies that regularly travel with the president and the president-elect take turns serving as the "pool" reporters and photographers and are typically granted access to travel inside the security detail for photo-ops and brief media availabilities on the condition they make their reporting and images available to all media.

Though the campaign was a bitter one, with Trump defeating Hillary Clinton while torching Obama's job performance over the last eight years, both have since spoken only of unity and a smooth transition.

Trump has 70 days to form a government prior to his inauguration.

While Obama and Trump met, so too did Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, sparking rumors he is in line to serve as Trump's top adviser, Politico reported.

Other reports have indicated Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is in line for the chief of staff job.

Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, played a key behind-the-scenes role in the Trump campaign, serving as a shadow campaign manager and advising Trump on virtually every element of the race.

Kushner is also a New York City real estate developer.

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Melania Trump and first lady Michelle Obama are expected to meet, as are Vice President Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

After the Trump entourage left the White House they headed to Capitol Hill, where House Speaker Paul Ryan led the Trumps on a tour of the Capitol and the two men had a private meeting to begin plotting their agenda.

Trump and Ryan were hardly the closest allies during the campaign, with Ryan eventually refusing to campaign for his own party's nominee in the wake of the Access Hollywood video scandal.

But Thursday's meeting was all smiles, with Ryan pledging to work with Trump to enact a sweeping conservative agenda.

"Let me just say how excited we are about these opportunities for the country. We had a fantastic, productive meeting about getting to work, rolling up our sleeves and going to work for the American people," Ryan said.

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