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Obama: Talks with Trump 'Excellent,' 'Wide-Ranging'


President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump at the White House, Nov. 10, 2016. (Photo: J. Oni / VOA)

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump at the White House, Nov. 10, 2016. (Photo: J. Oni / VOA)

U.S. President Barack Obama says he had an "excellent" and "wide-ranging" conversation with Donald Trump during the president-elect's first visit to the White House.

"We talked about some of the organizational issues in setting up the White House. We talked about foreign policy. We talked about domestic policy," Obama said at the Oval Office. He stressed that his number one priority is to facilitate a smooth transition of power.

Trump said the two discussed a lot of different situations, "some wonderful and some difficulties." "I very much look forward to dealing with the President in the future," he said.

WATCH: Obama, Trump comment on their meeting

"The peaceful transfer of power is a bedrock principle of our democracy," the White House said ahead of their meeting in the Oval Office. First lady Michelle Obama met privately with Trump's wife Melania about life in the private quarters of the executive mansion.

The White House said that long before the Republican Trump's stunning upset Tuesday over Democrat Hillary Clinton became apparent, Obama directed officials last year "to make a smooth transition between administrations a top priority" of his last year in office.

It said Obama officials are making sure that Trump and his yet-to-be-named key officials are "prepared from day one to protect our national security." U.S. intelligence and defense officials are starting to give Trump daily briefings on threats to the country's security and overseas military operations.

In addition, the Obama administration plans to host two exercises involving several government agencies to help familiarize Trump officials with how the government responds to domestic emergencies, whether terrorist attacks or such natural disasters as violent tornadoes and hurricanes.

Meeting with Congressional leaders

While in Washington, Trump also met with House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, leaders of the Republican majorities in each chamber, about their legislative plans. Both gave tepid support to Trump during the election but have vowed to work in concert with him to pass the party's agenda. The most prominent Republican effort will be to unwind and replace the Affordable Care Act, the outgoing president's health care program, known as Obamacare, that helped 20 million people get health insurance.

WATCH: Trump on his meeting with Congressional leaders

The Trump-Obama White House meeting could have been awkward.

Obama often derided Trump, the blunt-spoken real estate mogul who has never held elected office, as unfit to lead the country and campaigned hard for Clinton. Meanwhile, Trump for years questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S. before recently acknowledging his citizenship and says he plans to undermine key Obama policies, including the health care reforms, environmental regulations and protection of some immigrants from deportation.

After the meeting, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked if the meeting was awkward.He said: “The meeting might have been a little less awkward than some might have expected.”Trump said it was the first time the two men have met personally.

Despite the bitter campaign, Obama pledged Wednesday to cooperate with Trump's takeover.

"It is no secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences," Obama said. "But remember, eight years ago, President (George W.) Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition."

FILE - Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald trump and his wife Melania.

FILE - Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald trump and his wife Melania.

Rooting for success

Obama said he is rooting for Trump's success and has ordered the White House team "to work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect."

Secretary of State John Kerry cited the tradition of peaceful changes in leadership as he congratulated Trump on Thursday and wished him well for the "enormous challenges that he will undertake."

"With a transition like this the issues that we face don't go away," Kerry said during a visit to New Zealand. "The values with which we face them are the same values the day after the election that they were the day before."

WATCH: US presidential transition - what's involved?

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