After a gracious, conciliatory first encounter with President-elect Donald Trump at the White House, Barack Obama has been asked repeatedly to reconcile his critical ideas about candidate Trump with his cool-headed acceptance of President Trump. Obama called Trump’s rise “powerful stuff” in his first post-election press conference, saying “this office has a way of waking you up.” Asked about Trump’s temperament, which Obama had said made Trump unfit for office, the president talked about a “learning curve” and compared Trump’s need to rein in his emotions and tantrums to his own learning how to “organize paper.”
Obama then confessed that when he first arrived in the Oval Office, he recognized “pretty quickly” that he was weak at “filing” and needed some help in that area because of the briefing books he got every day. Obama acknowledged that the filing example might seem “silly,” but he pursued it anyway as an example of a president learning on the job. Yet the question had been about Trump’s temperament, a major issue during the campaign — even among many who voted for him. People aren’t concerned that Trump may not be able to find someone to help him organize his briefing books — they’re concerned about his potentially volatile reaction to what’s in the briefing books. On that temperament concern, for now, Obama refused to speculate.