Continuing a long-standing tradition, President Obama has invited President-elect Trump to the White House on Thursday for a meeting between the outgoing 44th President of the United States and the incoming 45th President. The meeting will be private, but many would love to be a fly on the wall and hear the conversation between these two powerful men, each who has expressed their disdain for the other during the campaign.
Time for healing
The interregnum between Election Day and Inauguration Day is a time for the country to heal its differences and prepare for the seamless transition of power from one president to another that has been the hallmark of most presidential transitions. The two notable exceptions were the 1861 transition from President James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln and between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover in 1933.
Inauguration Day was March 4 until 1948
In both cases, the transition period stretched from early November to early March as Inauguration Day was set on March 4, rather than January 20 as is now the case. During the Buchanan – Lincoln transition seven states seceded from the union leading to the Civil War. In 1933, incoming President Roosevelt refused the request of President Hoover to enact a joint program to stop the downward economic spiral of the Great Depression.
Bush-Obama transition was best
In more recent history, presidential transitions have occurred with goodwill between the outgoing and incoming presidents. The transition between President George W. Bush and Barack Obama is considered to have been the best in history and prompted Congress to enact the Presidential Transition Act of 2010. The Act created a transition process and provided government funding for each campaign to set up a transition team months before the election.
Obama promises support
President Obama appeared before the press on Wednesday morning to emphasize his commitment to a smooth transition of power. The President acknowledged that he had supported Hillary Clinton and expressed sadness at her defeat.
Everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But we have to remember that we are all on the same team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We're Americans first. We're patriots first. — President Barack Obama
Mindful of the harsh words uttered during the campaign the President said, "It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences,” adding “we all want what's best for this country." The President confirmed his commitment to a smooth transition.
I had a chance to talk to President-elect Trump last night at 3:30 in the morning to congratulate him on winning the election and invited him to the White House tomorrow to talk about making sure there is a successful transition between our two presidencies. — President Barack Obama
Trump was gracious to Clinton
In his victory speech on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump went out of his way to congratulate Hillary Clinton on her hard fought campaign and encouraged the country to bind together as he promised to be a “president for all Americans.”
Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division — have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. — Donald Trump
The smooth and seamless transition of power is a long-held American tradition, and there is no reason to assume that the 2016 election will be any different.