WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama says he was heartened by President-elect Donald Trump's call for unity.
Speaking Wednesday at the White House, Obama said the campaign was long and hard fought and that while a lot of Americans are feeling exultant, others are not.
He said everyone is sad when their side loses an election. But, resorting to sports analogies, Obama said "we're actually all on one team" and we're in an intramural scrimmage.
In his acceptance speech, Trump called for the country to "bind the wounds of division."
Obama says he's instructing his team to make sure there is a peaceful transfer of power.
He noted that he and Trump have had big differences.
Now, Obama said "we all want what's best for this country." He said the point is that we all go forward with a presumption of good faith in all citizens. He says that's how the country has moved forward and he's confident that the incredible American journey will continue.
Obama on Wednesday invited President-elect Donald Trump to meet with him to discuss the handover of power from his administration to Trump's.
The White House said Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning to congratulate him on his victory in the presidential campaign, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama's eight years in office. The two leaders planned to meet Thursday at the White House, where Obama was to update Trump about ongoing planning for the transition.
For Obama, the act of holding the meeting is a humbling blow to Obama's legacy and hopes for leaving a lasting imprint on the nation's policies. Trump has vowed to rip up much of what Obama accomplished, including his signature health care law, the Iran nuclear deal and a painstakingly negotiated trade deal with Asia.
Obama also called Hillary Clinton after it became clear she'd lost the race. The White House said Obama had "expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country."
It was unclear how substantive Obama's call was with Trump, or how long it lasted, although the White House noted that Obama placed the call from his residence in the White House, rather than from the West Wing. Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described it as a "very nice talk." She said Trump had missed the president's original call as Trump as speaking to supporters in New York, then called him back after leaving the stage.
Like Clinton and other Democrats, Obama didn't appear to see Trump's victory coming. As he campaigned vigorously for Clinton in the race's final days, Obama said he was confident that if Americans showed up to vote, they'd choose against electing the billionaire reality TV show with no formal government experience.
He had also warned supporters in apocalyptic terms that "the fate of the republic" rested on Clinton defeating Trump on Election Day.
Obama calls for smooth transfer of power