Obama to host awkward Trump welcome talks after vitriolic campaign

Trump led the "birther" movement that questioned Obama's US citizenship and has pledged to overturn many of the Democratic president's policy achievements

Obama to host awkward Trump welcome talks after vitriolic campaign

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House 09/11/2019. Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

US president-elect, Donald Trump will make his away to the White House today to meet President Barack Obama as the two men work towards a “peaceful transition of power.”

With almost no previous one-on-one contact between the two figures, the awkward encounter is due to take place at around 4pm Irish-time.

Trump led the "birther" movement that questioned Obama's US citizenship and has pledged to overturn many of the Democratic president's policy achievements - including his signature Obamacare health legislation.

He has accused him of creating the so-called Islamic State and of being the “worst President in history.”

In return, Obama has mocked him as being “temperamentally unfit” for office, and “dangerously unprepared” to be trusted with the country's nuclear codes. 

As recently as Monday, Obama made light of Trump’s candidacy after the Republican nominee’s campaign advisors “took away his twitter account.”

“Now, if your closest advisers don’t trust you to tweet then how can we trust him with the nuclear codes?” said President Obama.

In 2011, Mr Trump was the butt of many of Obama's jokes at the White House Correspondents' Dinner - an event the billionaire businessman attended.

They will seek to put that history behind them this afternoon - at least for the cameras - as first lady Michelle Obama also meets privately with Melania Trump in the White House residence.

As Obama noted when he addressed the cameras hours after Trump was named as his successor, he had had a similarly difficult relationship with his predecessor George W Bush. 

"Eight years ago, President 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," said Obama.

"So I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team set."

Trump spent Wednesday holding court with his staff at Trump Tower in New York - where planning got underway for the first 100 days of the new regime.

After taking office, Trump will enjoy Republican majorities in both chambers of the U.S. Congress.

That majority could help him to scrap or roll back a number of Obama policies that he has previously voiced his displeasure with, including the Affordable Care Act, the nuclear deal with Iran and US participation in the Paris agreement to fight global warming.

Obama is set to brief Trump about the benefits of those policies during their meeting.

In his victory speech, Trump said he would work to heal the divisions set off by the bitter campaign.

His former rival, Hillary Clinton urged her disappointed supporters to give Trump an "open mind and the chance to lead."