Donald Trump can’t decide whether he thinks the transition of power is going well or not.
But he knows he doesn’t like how much attention Barack Obama is getting and is also bothered by what Trump and his closest advisers see as an active effort to poke the president-elect and undermine the incoming administration with last-minute policy changes on his way out of office
.. Most of all, though, Trump is frustrated with how Obama has poked him, by claiming in a podcast interview with former adviser David Axelrod that he could have beaten Trump had he been eligible to run again. (The president made that claim as part of an insistence that his kind of positive, hopeful campaign would have resonated with Americans, despite what Trump successfully tapped into.)
.. Trump was also irritated by Obama’s comments at Pearl Harbor on Tuesday afternoon in which he said, “even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.” These felt to Trump like direct criticism of the president-elect, according to two people close to Trump.
.. A senior administration official said Trump is wrong if he thinks Obama’s aim is to disrupt the transition by highlighting Russia’s role in the campaign, ordering the abstention on the Security Council vote on the Israel resolution and laying out his more globalist worldview as part of a speech at Pearl Harbor that was meant to address the right-wing nationalism going on all over the world.
“That is not evidence of a flawed transition,” the official said Wednesday afternoon. “That is evidence that we have starkly different opinions.”
.. The White House team is also frustrated with Trump’s policy statements — not just over what he did in regard to Israel, but by his hosting of a meeting with the Japanese prime minister in November, speaking by phone with the Taiwanese president despite the objections of China and beginning to map out a new framework of a relationship with Vladimir Putin.
Not only were these arranged without first informing the current administration, but they’ve created a level of confusion about American policy appearing to be driven by two different leaders at once.