Politics After Trump exits and Biden enters, a struggle for us all to get along
Pence is helping Biden make the transition more normal. But their cooperation has risks for each.
Pence is accepting Biden’s win in a way Trump has not, helping Biden solidify his transition to power. That benefits Biden and Pence for now, but a volatile political landscape lies ahead for both. That comes after Pence last Thursday called Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris to congratulate her, offering her Air Force Two to travel to the inauguration, a courtesy Biden extended to Pence four years ago. Most dramatically, Pence on Jan. 6 rejected efforts to disrupt Congress’s certification of the election results, making him the target of a violent mob as he formalized Biden’s win.
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Donald Trump’s presidency finally ended last week, bringing to a close a dramatic effort to hang on to the job from which voters fired him in November. Trump repeatedly insisted that the election was a fraud, and early this month, a mob of mostly White male supporters, in an apparent effort to stop Congress from recording the electoral college vote for Joe Biden, stormed the U.S. Capitol, vandalizing the historical structure and attacking police officers, killing one. A week later, the House impeached Trump — for the second time during his presidency — for his role in inciting the riot.
Power Up: Biden’s Inauguration Day is a return to tradition even as Trump breaks it
The theme is "America United" – a far cry from Trump's "American carnage" speech four years ago. It's Inauguration Day in America and you're reading the Power Up newsletter. Thanks for waking up with us as the Trump era comes to a close.
Biden took the oath of office last week in a buoyant inauguration ceremony — that Trump declined to attend — followed by a virtual party, featuring star actors and musicians, that celebrated the diversity of the voters who chose him to be the nation’s 46th president. But despite the joy that greeted the new administration, the anger that marked the end of Trump’s presidency will haunt the nation, at least for the near future, political observers say. For one thing, the House on Monday delivered its article of impeachment to the Senate for trial, which is. And although Trump was tossed off major social media sites after the Capitol riot, he’s not going away quietly and is and punish Republicans who he says abandoned him during his fight to remain in power.
Return of the technocrats: Biden aims for ‘normal’ after four years of tumult
The first few days of Biden’s administration have produced a blizzard of fact sheets and memorandums — a veritable redwood worth of paperwork — with aspirations of a return to regular order. In the first few days of Biden’s administration, aides to the new president have also blasted out fact sheets and memorandums — a veritable redwood worth of paperwork — and quietly reached out to a range of interest groups and politicians of both parties.
We talked to Shannon Bow O’Brien, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin whose scholarship includes a focus on the communication styles of presidents, about the tumultuous two months between the presidential election and the inauguration. Here are three takeaways from our conversation.
Trump delighted in stoking outrage on both sides
Although Trump sold himself to American voters as the can-do businessman best known for his reality-TV show, “The Apprentice,” O’Brien said Trump has much more in common with the characters from the world of pro wrestling. It is the thesis of a book she published last year calledShe notes that Trump, who once held WrestleMania events at his casinos, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013:
“The showmanship of wrestling is where he learned how to interact with audiences. Within wrestling, you never apologize. Apologies are seen as weakness, and you always double down. The more forcefully you assert information, the more truthful it is. If you backtrack it or you try to qualify it, it’s seen either as you’re lying or you’re a weak person. The verbal taunting, mocking people … these are like the bread and butter of wrestling. And whether they’re booing you or cheering you, they’re still paying attention to you.”
The Daily 202: Biden already faces war powers questions
The president has ordered a potentially consequential 'review' of whether the Taliban are keeping their end of a February 2020 agreement calling for a U.S. and NATO withdrawal by May. Implicit in that decision is the possibility that the president could hold off if the Taliban is not. © Kevin Lamarque/Reuters Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin receives an elbow bump from Vice President Harris prior to being sworn in by Harris on Monday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) Biden must decide how much he wants to restore the pre-Trump status quo vs. how much the times call for a new approach.
Biden has allowed many worried Americans a moment to exhale
For those who felt traumatized by Trump’s rhetoric, O’Brien said, Biden’s comments since winning the presidency, including his inauguration speech, offered “an unexpected sense of relief.”
“I think one of the things that a lot of people don’t realize is, boring is underrated. We often think we want excitement when we’re younger, and then we get excitement frequently, and then we realize that boring is underrated. And Biden is also offering us, at least verbally so far, he’s offering us predictability — predictable, normal, no-jazz-hands government with surprises and unexpected things. He’s talking about healing divisions. And I think a lot of people feel reassured, or they feel like they can breathe and they’re not waiting for that other shoe to drop.
“A lot of people spent four years waiting for those shoes to drop. And it wasn’t just two shoes … it was this endless series of the dramatic. And it goes back to Trump wanting to play for theatrics.”
Undoing Trump's policies and other things Biden did his first week as president
President Joe Biden has signed over 30 executive orders ranging from reversing Trump-era policy to adjusting the nation’s response to the pandemic.The orders ranged in topic from dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to beginning the process for what he hopes will be immigration reform. Many take direct aim at the decisions of former President Donald Trump.
Don’t forget the Golden Rule
O’Brien said conservatives are feeling especially anxious after losing both the White House and the Senate, with many believing Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen. A recentfound that a large majority of Republicans have little or no confidence in Biden to make the right decisions for the country.
“I think a lot of people in America who are more conservative are deeply concerned about the retribution that may occur, because if it was them, that’s what they would want to do,” she said. “I think that’s driving a lot of fear among a lot of Trump supporters.”
She said Biden’s repeated references to healing the nation and citing President Abraham Lincoln’s call for people to be guided by the “better angels of their nature” were important steps toward helping to ease tensions between supporters of the outgoing and incoming presidents. And while some of Biden’s supporters are rolling their eyes over the new president’s calls for unity, she said, it’s important that they not demand payback.
“We have to have rules, and we have to have laws, but we have to appeal to the better senses of our natural reactions. There has to be a lot of grace here. I think there needs to be justice, for people who acted as seditionists and broke laws … but it doesn’t have to be vengeance. And I think Biden has to tread the line between looking for justice, but always balancing it, holding back the vengeance. Vengeance just ramps us all up for another fight.”
A chasm opens in COVID-19 relief talks. Can Biden and Republicans close the trillion-dollar gap? .
President Joe Biden and group of Senate Republicans huddle at the White House in an effort to reach consensus on a COVID-19 relief plan.Senate Republicans, no longer in power but still a formidable force in a chamber split 50-50 between parties, have balked at the proposal's price tag. A group of 10 senators offered a competing proposal – with about two-thirds less funding than Biden called for.