Obama Told Trump White House Isn't Like 'Managing a Family Business'

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama talked about his relationship with Donald Trump and said he told the president elect that running America's government is different from managing a "family business." Obama also shared his views on the U.S. intelligence report about Russia's interference in the presidential election.

(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, November 10, 2016.

In the interview, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos asked Obama what he has tried to impress on Trump about the job. Obama said the president elect has been "open to suggestions," and "the main thing that I've tried to transmit is that there's a difference between governing and campaigning, so that what he has to appreciate is as soon as you walk into this office after you've been sworn in, you're now in charge of the largest organization on Earth."

Obama added, "You can't manage it the way you would manage a family business. You can't manage it the way you would manage a Senate office. I was a senator before I became president. And so you have to have a strong team around you. You have to have respect for institutions and the process to make good decisions because you are inherently reliant on other folks."

Stephanopoulos then asked how Trump has impressed him. Responding to the question, Obama called Trump "very engaging and gregarious."

"He is somebody who I think is not lacking in confidence," he added. "It's probably a prerequisite for the job, or at least you have to have enough craziness to think that you can do the job. I think that he has not spent a lot of time sweating the details of, you know, all the policies."

Asked if he is worried, Obama said, it can be both a strength and a weakness.

"I think it depends on how he approaches it. If it gives him fresh eyes, then that can be valuable. But it also requires you knowing what you don't know and putting in place people who do have the kinds of experience and background and knowledge that can inform good decision making. And look, I think it's fair to say that he and I sort of opposites in some ways."

Stephanopoulos also asked Obama about the intelligence report which suggested that Russia sought to interfere in the election by providing hacked emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta to WikiLeaks.

"I think the report is very clear. Number one, the Russians sought to interfere with the election process, that the cyber hacking that took place by the Russians was part of that campaign, and that they had a clear preference in terms of outcomes," Obama said. "What I've repeatedly said is that you know, our intelligence communities spend a lot of time and effort gathering a lot of strands and a lot of data. There are times where they're very cautious and they say, 'We think this is what happened, but we're not certain.'"

This time, Obama added, "they've got high confidence, and having seen some of the underlying sources and information that they're basing this on I stand fully behind the report."