President-elect Donald Trump has a newfound fondness for President Obama, repeatedly saying Wednesday that he “really” likes his soon-to-be-predecessor, who he spent years savaging as a failure.
Trump, who was revealed Wednesday as the 2016 TIME Person of the Year, said during a Today show moments after his selection that he appreciates being able to pick Obama’s brain about future appointments to his administration and takes his recommendations “very seriously.”
“I really like him,” Trump said of Obama. “We have really good chemistry together. We talk. He loves the country. He wants to do right by the country and for the country.”
“I never met him before this, and I never spoke to him before this,” Trump added. “I really, I do like him. I love getting his ideas.”
The remarks are a near about-face for Trump, who spent much of his campaign criticizing Obama and his policies as a “disaster.” Trump also spent years fueling the false conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the United States.
The two leaders met for the first time last month at the White House, where they talked for 90 minutes. Trump said he disagrees with Obama on “policies and certain things,” but that he respected the outgoing president’s take on potential appointments, issues plaguing the country and the nation’s greatest assets.
TIME editors annually choose the Person of the Year, which is someone who most influenced the news, for better or for worse.
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