Obama and Trump have 'very nice conversation' after outburst

WASHINGTON • US President Barack Obama phoned his successor, Mr Donald Trump, after the Republican accused Mr Obama of hobbling the transition to his administration in a tweet that alleged unspecified "inflammatory" statements and "roadblocks".

The tweet on Wednesday brought tensions between the two men into the open less than a month before Inauguration Day, though the President's phone call later may have smoothed relations over. "We had a very nice conversation," Mr Trump told reporters gathered at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

The White House said the President and President-elect committed to staying in touch over the next several weeks and agreed their respective teams would work together to ensure a smooth transition of power on Jan 20.

Earlier, Mr Trump erupted on Twitter with attacks on actions and statements by the President, chiefly Mr Obama's direction that the US abstain from a United Nations Security Council vote declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.

"Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O(bama) statements and roadblocks," Mr Trump tweeted. "Thought it was going to be a smooth transition - NOT!"

Other recent moves by Mr Obama are emerging as challenges to the incoming administration. Last week, the President announced that more than 40.4 million ha of the US Arctic and undersea canyons in the Atlantic Ocean would be protected from new offshore oil and gas drilling.

He has also encouraged Americans to enrol in Obamacare before the Jan 31 deadline for next year's sign-ups despite Mr Trump's vow to repeal the law, and the Environmental Protection Agency is moving to finalise mileage requirements for car manufacturers months earlier than expected.

Years of insults between the two predated Mr Trump's run for the White House. Both men have said they have spoken by phone more than once after a meeting following Mr Trump's election victory. But their relations, at least in public, have been rocky recently.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 30, 2016, with the headline 'Obama and Trump have 'very nice conversation' after outburst'. Print Edition | Subscribe