- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett on Wednesday described Donald Trump’s stunning Election Day victory as a “punch to the stomach,” but said the White House morale “is a lot better today” than it was nearly a month ago.

“Obviously we were surprised by the outcome of the election,” Ms. Jarrett said of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, Politico reported.

“It kind of was like a, I’m not sure what the right analogy would be, but like a punch in the stomach, let’s say. Soul-crushing might be another description,” she said. “But that’s the democracy that we have: the people get to decide and the elections matter and we have to get about the business of doing our job.”

Ms. Jarrett said President Obama is proud of what he’s accomplished in office and has been optimistic about the election.

“He sets the tone and he’s upbeat,” she said. “And so I think the mood is a lot better today than it was the day after the election, that’s for sure.”

President Obama, who supported Mrs. Clinton during the election, often traded criticism with President-elect Trump on the campaign trail. However, the two appeared to put aside their differences during a meeting just days after the election. Mr. Trump said on the “Today” show Wednesday that he appreciates Mr. Obama’s ideas and has sought the president’s advice during his White House transition.

Ms. Jarrett said it didn’t surprise her that Mr. Trump was starting to like the president, Politico reported.

“I understand why he likes him. I guess I wish he’d gotten to know him sooner and had spent some time with him. And I also think it reflects on President Obama’s attitude, which is he’s being very open and available and accessible,” she said.

“Look, we’ve learned a lot in eight years and campaigns are different than governing and to the degree that President Obama can convey some of what he’s learned and give the president-elect a little bit more detail into why we’ve done the things that we’ve done, than inures to the benefit of the country,” she said. “So I’m glad that the president-elect likes President Obama. I think that’s a good sign.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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