News World Obama praises Trump for his ‘pragmatism’
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Obama praises Trump for his ‘pragmatism’

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Barack Obama had some unexpected praise for President-elect Donald Trump. Photo: AAP
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United States President Barack Obama has surprisingly described President-elect Donald Trump as more “pragmatic” than “ideological”.

In his first White House press conference since Mr Trump won the November 8 election, Mr Obama claimed that the billionaire had some positive traits that would make him successful president.

“I also think that he [Mr Trump] is coming to this office with fewer set, hard-and-fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with. I don’t think he is ideological,”

“I think ultimately he’s pragmatic in that way, and that can serve him well as long as he’s got good people around him and he has a good sense of direction.”

Mr Obama also told the press conference that he had warned Mr Trump that he must “reach out” to minority groups after the billionaire ran a bitter and divisive election campaign.

“[Because of the] bitterness and the ferocity of the campaign [I told Mr Trump] that it’s really important to try to send some signals of unity and to reach out to minority groups, to women and others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign.”

Mr Obama also said it was important that the White House helped the incoming Trump administration, despite their differences.

“It’s one of those norms that are vital to a functioning democracy,” he said during the news conference.

“Similar to norms of civility and tolerance and the commitment to reason and facts and analysis. It’s part of what makes this country work.”

Mr Trump and Mr Putin have first phone call

Meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mr Trump have agreed to work towards “constructive cooperation”, including on fighting terrorism, the Kremlin says.

Putin Trump mural Lithuania
A mural in Lithuania depicting Trump and Putin kissing – Trump has notoriously stated that Putin is a strong leader. Photo: AFP/Getty

In their first phone call since Mr Trump won the election, they agreed to “channel” relations between Russia and the United States and “combine efforts to tackle international terrorism and extremism”.

“The importance of creating a solid basis for bilateral ties was underscored, in particularly by developing the trade-economic component,” the Kremlin said in its statement.

It added the countries should “return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation, which would address the interests of both countries as well as stability and safety the world over”. The two men will maintain contact by phone and seek to meet each other in person, the statement said.

Mr Trump will take office on January 20, replacing President Barack Obama whose relations with Mr Putin have become tense over various issues including Syria and Ukraine.

Watch Mr Obama’s full press conference:

– with ABC

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