Donald Trump to meet President Obama to discuss transfer of power

President says he will work with Republican’s team to smooth transition

President-elect Donald Trump will take up an invitation from President Barack Obama to visit the White House on Thursday as the political establishment in the United States reels from the businessman's shock victory over Hillary Clinton.

Standing alongside the vice-president, Joe Biden, at the White House on Wednesday morning, Mr Obama congratulated Mr Trump and said his staff would work with the Republican's team to ensure a smooth transfer of power in the weeks leading up to his inauguration in January.

Mr Obama acknowledged that many Americans were disappointed by the outcome, but urged people to unite in the national interest.

“We are all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country,” Mr Obama said. “The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months we are going to show that to the world.”

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Mr Trump and his senior aides were meeting at Trump Tower in New York on Wednesday to plan the transition and discuss potential appointees to cabinet and the supreme court, where there has been a vacancy since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year.

Among the Trump allies thought to be in the frame for key posts in the new administration are former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an early supporter of Mr Trump and a key policy adviser during the campaign.

The incoming president will find himself surrounded by allies in Washington, as Republican successes in elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday mean the party will control the White House and both chambers for the first time since the 1920s.

Uncertainty surrounded the fate of other senior Republicans who showed only lukewarm support for Mr Trump's campaign, however. House speaker Paul Ryan, who had a strained relationship with the Republican candidate and avoided appearing beside him for the duration of the campaign, paid tribute to the president-elect and said he looked forward to working with him.

"What Donald Trump just pulled off was an enormous political feat," Mr Ryan said in his home town of Janesville, Wisconsin.

Mr Ryan sidestepped a question on whether Mr Trump had offered him any assurances about his own future, but said he looked forward to helping to act on the president-elect’s mandate for his vision of government, including the repeal of Mr Obama’s signature healthcare reform, the Affordable Care Act.

He said Mr Trump would be a champion for Americans who did not like the direction of the country and “don’t feel heard and don’t feel represented by the people in office”.

As he met advisers in Trump Tower, the president-elect also received phone calls from world leaders. As of Wednesday morning, Mr Trump will receive the same classified intelligence briefings as Mr Obama.

For their part, senior Democrats remained largely silent on Wednesday.

"We have nothing nice to say right now," an adviser to Bernie Sanders, Mrs Clinton's defeated rival in the party's primary, told CNN. On Twitter, another of Mrs Clinton's challengers for the nomination, former governor of Maryland Martin O'Malley, thanked her for her work for the campaign and the country, adding: "I could not be more proud to call you a fellow American."

During his campaign Mr Trump had identified his priorities upon taking office as building stronger borders, repealing Mr Obama’s national healthcare plan, helping military veterans and working to create more jobs. In his victory speech early on Wednesday, he also promised to embark on a project to rebuild American infrastructure and to double economic growth with the help of his “great economic plan”.

He also used the speech to strike a conciliatory note towards Mrs Clinton, whom he had called "Crooked Hillary" and accused of corruption throughout the campaign. Nonetheless, on Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway did not rule out the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Mrs Clinton's past conduct, a threat Mr Trump made in an election debate last month.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is an Assistant Editor of The Irish Times