- ABC News
It may seem as if President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump couldn’t be more different from each other, but Obama says the two have at least one thing in common.
“He is somebody who is not lacking in confidence,” Obama said in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News aired Sunday. “It’s probably a prerequisite for the job. Or at least you have to have enough craziness to think you can do the job.”
But in the wide-ranging interview, Obama suggested Trump’s confidence could harm his decision-making ability if it prevented the incoming president from “sweating the details” of policy.
“That can be both a strength and a weakness,” Obama said. “I think it depends on how he approaches it. If it gives him fresh eyes, then that can be valuable. But it also requires you knowing what you don’t know and putting in place people who do have the kind of experience and background and knowledge that can inform good decision-making.”
“If you don’t have good people and you don’t have a good process, and you don’t have at some level the basic reverence for this office and understanding of the incredible responsibilities and obligations, then I think you can get into trouble,” Obama added.
Obama may have been referring in part to his meeting with Trump at the White House shortly after Trump’s election in November. After the meeting, reports emerged that the businessman was surprised by the scope of the presidency, prompting Obama to say he would work more closely with the president-elect throughout the transition of power.
Trump has also dismissed reports from top US intelligence officials that Russia interfered with the election, acknowledging last month that he didn’t regularly attend the daily intelligence briefings presidents traditionally hold.
That’s the wrong attitude toward experts, Obama said.
“As much as I can dive into a briefing book and really work to master various subjects that come before my desk, I’m still not an expert on a huge amount of the stuff that we work on,” he said. “But I do make sure that I’ve got people who are experts that are helping me make the best decisions possible.”