Obama hosts Trump at White House for first meeting after election

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After their first face-to-face meeting, President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump pledged to work together, with the sitting president saying he wants to make Trump and his family "feel welcome as we prepare to make this transition."

Obama and Trump met in the Oval Office for an hour-and-a-half, and the president told reporters they had a "wide-ranging" conversation about domestic and foreign policy issues. Trump said he looked forward to working with Obama in the future and would seek his counsel.

"Mr. President, it was a great honor being with you, and I look forward being with you many, many more times," Trump said with Obama sitting by his side.

The private White House meeting had the potential to be awkward after the two men sniped at each other throughout the bitter presidential campaign: Trump, a central figure in the so-called "birther" movement, spent years railing against Obama and challenging the legitimacy of his 2008 election. Obama, who campaigned heartily for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, repeatedly slammed Trump as unfit for office.

The men have had virtually no personal contact. They were in the same room at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Association dinner — the night Obama pilloried Trump in a scathing comedy routine.

As Obama huddled with Trump for their closed-door meeting, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough strolled along the South Lawn with Trump's son-in-law and confidant, Jared Kushner.

Obama had congratulated the president-elect in a statement in the Rose Garden on Wednesday, pledging to do his part in a cordial handover — just as President George W. Bush did for him eight years ago.

"It is not secret that the president-elect and I have some pretty significant differences," Obama said. "The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy."

See photos from this story:

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President Obama meets with Trump
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President Obama meets with Trump
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Obama and Trump discussed a range of domestic and foreign policy topics at the White House during their first meeting since Trump's stunning election victory.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) greets President-elect Donald Trump in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump (L) to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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Trump has threatened to undo much of Obama's policies and programs. At stake is the president's legacy on health care initiatives, immigration, a global climate change pact and a nuclear deal with Iran.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday that Obama is hoping to impart to Trump the benefits of his policies.

"There is a tradition, particularly with regard to executive agreements, of successive presidents preserving some element of continuity," Earnest said. "I don't know whether or not that will fly in this case."

A White House official told NBC News that the president wants to ensure a "seamless transition" and let Trump know that White House staff remains committed to a new administration.

Obama will touch on the responsibilities of the office and how they differ from what happens in a campaign, the official added.

Trump on Thursday was joined at the White House by wife, Melania, who was meeting in the residence with first lady Michelle Obama.

Vice President Joe Biden will also visit Vice President-elect Mike Pence later Thursday afternoon.

Trump departed for Washington in his Trump-branded airliner out of New York's LaGuardia Airport, where water cannons sprayed the jet in a ceremonial sendoff.

His swearing in would take place Jan. 20. But the next several weeks could prove tumultuous following a contentious election that has sparked street protests throughout the country. On Wednesday night, thousands in Chicago, New York and cities in California held signs and chanted, "Not my president," in reference to Trump.

See photos of other similar meetings:

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Presidents meeting their successors
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Presidents meeting their successors
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque 
US President George W. Bush and his wife Laura(obscured) welcome president-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to the White House NOvember 10, 2008 in Washington, DC. Bush invited Obama for the private talk, a rite of passage between presidents and successors that extends for decades.The two are expected to discuss the nation's enormous economic downturn and the war in Iraq. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, : US President BIll Clinton (R) and President-elect George W. Bush(L) shake hands during meetings19 December, 2000 at the White House in Washington, DC for discussions on the transition to power on 20 January 2001. Bush will meet later with US Vice President Al Gore, the man he defeated in the election. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Pres. George H. W. Bush, left, and President-elect Bill Clinton, right, put their arms around each other as Bush greeted the Clinton family at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 1993, Washington, D.C. Shortly afterward, they left for Capitol Hill and the swearing in of Clinton as the nations 42nd President. Clintons daughter Chelsea Clinton, left, and his wife Hillary Clinton, center, take part in the greeting. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
President Ronald Reagan, left, shakes hands with President-elect George H. W. Bush as First Lady Nancy Reagan looks at the White House prior to leaving for the Capitol for the inauguration of Bush as the 41st President, Friday, Jan. 20, 1989, Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn meet President-elect Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, right, at the North Portico of the White House in Washington on Jan. 20, 1981. (AP Photo)
President-elect Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn are greeted at the White House in Washington on Jan. 20, 1977 by President Gerald Ford and first lady Betty Ford. The Fords invited the Carters to the White House for coffee in the Blue Room prior to the Carter Inauguration at noon. From left, Tip O'Neill; Mrs. Carter; Mrs. Ford; President-elect Carter and outgoing President Ford. Man at right is unidentified. (AP Photo)
*** FILE *** Gerald R. Ford and his wife Betty, in one of his last duties as Vice President, walks with Richard Nixon and his wife Pat from the White House, Friday following a speech given by Nixon to his White House staff, August 9, 1974. Shortly afterward, Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected president in America's history, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday Dec. 26, 2006. He was 93. (AP Photo)
President-elect Richard Nixon and family arrive at the White House and are greeted by President Lyndon Johnson and Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson on Jan. 20, 1969 in Washington. From left are: Mr. and Mrs. Nixon, David Eisenhower, Tricia Nixon and her escort Ed Cox and President and Mrs. Johnson. (AP Photo)
Retiring President Dwight Eisenhower and his successor John F. Kennedy, left, leave the White House to ride together to the Capitol for the inauguration of Kennedy as 35th president in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 1961. (AP Photo/Henry Burroughs)
With smiles and a wave, U.S. President Harry Truman, left, and his successor, president-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower, leave the White House in an open car for inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 1953. Sitting in the front is Sen. Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, and behind him is House Speaker Joe Martin. (AP Photo)
President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt greets current Pres. Herbert Hoover warmly as the latter steps into the Roosevelt car at the White House for the trip to the Capitol and the inaugural ceremonies in Washington, March 4, 1933. (AP Photo)
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