Trump tells Michelle Obama US now has hope

First Lady Michelle Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump.
PHOTO: AFP

Mobile, United States - President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday insisted that America was full of hope since his election, shrugging off First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks suggesting otherwise.

"We have tremendous hope, and we have tremendous promise and tremendous potential," Trump told a rally in Mobile, Alabama, the final stop on his "thank you" tour.

"We are going to be so successful as a country again. We are going to be amazing," the 70-year-old Republican billionaire said.

In excerpts of an interview released Friday, Michelle Obama told talkshow host Oprah Winfrey that she had concerns about America's future following the bitterly fought November election that pitted Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"We feel the difference now," Obama said.

"See, now we're feeling what not having hope feels like. You know? Hope is necessary. It's a necessary concept." Without naming Trump she also referred to how important it is to have "a grownup in the White House who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, 'Hey, it's going to be okay.'" Trump promised change of his own.

"You watch. It's going to be so special. Things are going to happen like you haven't seen happen in many, many decades," he insisted.

But the first lady indicated she has been sensing a bleak mood.

"What do you give your kids if you can't give them hope?" she asked.

The president-elect, known for lashing out when criticized, seemed to backpedal a bit after initially criticizing the first lady, suggesting she "meant that statement in a different way than it came out." He was even complimentary.

"She could not have been nicer," Trump said of the first lady, whom he met with her husband following the November 8 election.

Obama and Trump meet in the White House

  • Barack Obama and Donald Trump on Thursday put past animosity aside during a 90-minute White House meeting designed to quell fears about the health of the world's pre-eminent democracy.
  • White House staffers stand on the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as they await the arrival of US President-elect Donald Trump for a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, DC, November 10, 2016.
  • "Mr President, it was a great honour being with you," Trump said, calling Obama a "very good man." .
  • As protests against the Republican property mogul's shock election rumbled across US cities and world capitals contended with a suddenly uncertain world order, Obama and Trump vowed to carry out a smooth transition of power.
  • After a nasty campaign that culminated in the election of a 70-year-old billionaire who has never held public office and who gained power on a far-right platform, the message was: this is business as usual in a democracy.
  • "It is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face," Obama said.
  • Trump appeared more subdued than usual, and was unusually cautious and deferential in his remarks.
  • The outgoing Democratic president and his successor huddled one-on-one in the Oval Office, for what Obama characterized as an "excellent conversation" and then put on a remarkably civil joint public appearance.
  • After all, Trump championed the so-called "birther movement" challenging that Obama was actually born in the United States - a suggestion laden with deep racial overtones - only dropping the position recently.
  • "Here's a good rule. Don't answer questions when they just start yelling," Obama told Trump.
  • Trump - who previously called Obama the "most ignorant president in our history" - said he looked forward to receiving the president's counsel. Obama - who previously said Trump was a whiner and "uniquely unqualified" to be commander-in-chief - vowed his support.
  • The two men ended the improbable and historic White House encounter with a handshake and refused to take questions, appearing to find common cause in their opinion of the press.
  • He (Obama) told Trump that his administration would "do everything we can to help you succeed, because if you succeed, then the country succeeds."
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