President-elect Donald Trump criticized President Barack Obama Wednesday for putting up “roadblocks” in the transition process — but then reversed course, saying they had spoken by phone and the transfer of power was going smoothly.
He made the comments amid a flurry of meetings at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida that included interviews with candidates to lead the Veterans Affairs and Agriculture departments.
Trump had first tweeted, “Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition — NOT!”
Hours later, he told reporters at Mar-a-Lago who asked how the transition was going, “Oh, I think very, very smoothly. Very good. You don’t think so?”
He said Obama called him Wednesday.
“We had a general conversation, very, very nice,” he said.
Trump in recent days expressed displeasure with Obama for saying in a podcast interview he believed he could have won a third term in a hypothetical run against Trump. Trump, a Republican, also has criticized Obama, a Democrat, for not vetoing a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the phone call Wednesday was positive and Obama is dedicated to “continuing a smooth and effective transition.” The president is vacationing in Hawaii.
Trump has complimented Obama in the past for making himself available during the transition process.
Trump’s incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Obama and his team have been “very helpful” on the “actual mechanics” of the transition and inauguration.
Also Wednesday, a senior transition official said Trump is considering proposals that would allow military veterans to visit hospitals inside and outside the Veterans Affairs system.
Trump also told reporters that Sprint representatives said they are returning 5,000 jobs from abroad, and that OneWeb — another communications company — would be hiring 3,000 people.
He did not offer details.
Trump met Wednesday with Toby Cosgrove, chief executive of Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center in Cleveland, Ohio, who is a candidate to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. Trump also met with at least two contenders for Secretary of Agriculture: Elsa Murano, a former Texas A&M University president and former Undersecretary of Agriculture, and former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado Jr.
Trump hosted several other guests, including historian Douglas Brinkley, who told reporters that they discussed the tenures and inaugurations of presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy.
Trump is scheduled to return to Manhattan Sunday.