On November 10, 2016, President Barack Obama invited Donald Trump, then President-elect, to the White House.
No such invitation has been extended to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The meeting between sitting presidents and vice presidents and their successors is a time-honored tradition that represents the peaceful transfer of power. But CNN’s White House team has reported there are no plans for President Trump to invite Biden to the White House in the coming days. The Trump administration has refused to concede the election or recognize the results as legitimate.
That means Biden can’t access additional funds for his transition team, and he hasn’t been cleared to receive intelligence briefings, both touchstones of the formal transition process.
It was a different scene in 2016.
That year, President Obama met with Trump in the Oval Office for 90 minutes, just two days after Election Day. Obama told Trump he wanted him to succeed and would support him in a smooth transition.
Trump, who for years falsely claimed Obama was not American and even accused the president of founding ISIS on the campaign trail, called Obama a “very good man” in their meeting and said he would heed Obama’s counsel.
Biden, then the vice president, spoke with Mike Pence in the VP’s West Wing office the same day Obama and Trump met.
Biden tweeted that he met with Pence “to offer support for a smooth, seamless transition of power.”
Biden and Pence later met on November 16, 2016, spending two hours at the vice president’s residence with their wives, Jill Biden and Karen Pence. Biden joked he’d be available to Pence as “senior staff,” on call 24/7.
Their November 16 meeting was seen as a peace offering between the two men from opposing political parties. “We are just very grateful for the hospitality today for the Vice President and the second lady,” Pence said then.
Biden continued to offer Pence advice on foreign policy issues for the first several months of Pence’s tenure, and their last substantive conversation on related matters occurred in the summer of 2017, Biden aides told CNN’s Arlette Saenz in 2019.
Biden’s allies are now preparing for a more difficult transition than the one for years ago, with a legal fight one possibility.
CNN’s Stephen Collinson, Dan Merica and Eric Bradner contributed to this report.