Many of Trump’s personnel choices had little or no government experience, and the Obama aides were presenting massive troves of information to them about how a raft of agencies had to work together to respond to various crises.
Multiple current and former Trump officials reached by POLITICO said they did not recall much about the briefing. But some Obama aides who attended said they were left with the impression that many of the Trump aides showed up to simply check off a box more than to learn. The impression was boosted in part because the transition overall was going so poorly. Several Trump nominees had barely even spoken to their Obama counterparts.
The State Department representative at the meeting, for instance, was Tom Shannon, a veteran career foreign service officer serving as undersecretary of State for political affairs. Shannon attended instead of Secretary of State John Kerry in part because he would be staying on under Trump and was essentially the “transition designee.” But that Jan. 13, 2017, session was the first time he’d seen the incoming secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, in person since Trump picked him for the job a month earlier. (Before the inauguration, Kerry and Tillerson spoke once, by phone, for a few minutes, people familiar with the situation said.)
“The problem is that they came in very arrogant and convinced that they knew more than the outgoing administration — full swagger,” one former Obama administration official who attended said.