Trump Leaves a Destructive Presidential Legacy

In inaugural address, Biden will appeal to national unity; Biden’s long political evolution leads to biggest test; Deceptions in the time of the ‘alternative facts’ president


From Associated Press


Media  – Joe Biden will deliver an appeal to national unity when he’s sworn in Wednesday and plans immediate moves to combat the coronavirus pandemic and undo some of Donald Trump’s most controversial policies, according to his incoming chief of staff.


Biden intends a series of executive actions in his first hours after his inauguration, an opening salvo in what is shaping up as a 10-day blitz of steps to reorient the country without waiting for Congress. In his address to the nation, Biden will deliver “a message of moving this country forward. A message of unity. A message of getting things done.” Zeke Miller reports.

Biden Faces Unrivaled Challenges As He Takes Oath



In the meantime, Democrats are building their case for convicting Trump in his second impeachment trial. The lead House prosecutor alleged that Trump’s incitement of a mob at the Capitol was “the most dangerous crime” ever committed by a president.


Democrats have not yet said when they will send the impeachment article to the Senate, which is needed before Trump’s trial can begin, Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick report.


Biden Evolution: Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has navigated a half-century in American politics by relentlessly positioning himself at the core of the Democratic Party. Wherever that power center shifted, Biden was there. The common thread was Biden framing himself as a mainstream liberal but also a pragmatist who still insists that governing well depends on compromise and consensus. Now Biden’s central political identity faces the ultimate trial. On Wednesday, he will inherit stewardship of a nation wrenched by pandemic, seismic cultural fissures and an opposition party’s base that considers him illegitimate, even to the point of Trump’s supporters violently attacking the U.S. Capitol as Congress convened to certify Biden’s victory, Bill Barrow reports.


Changing Presidency: When President-elect Biden takes the oath of office, he’ll begin to reshape the the presidency. And he’ll do it as a time when the nation is bitterly divided and struggling with a pandemic and an insurrection meant to stop his ascension to power. Biden had campaigned as a rebuke to Trump, whose political power was fueled by discord and grievance. The Democrat framed his election as one to “heal the soul” of the nation restore the White House image as a symbol of stability and credibility. Incendiary tweets will be out and policy briefings will be in as Biden looks to change the tone and priorities of the office, Jonathan Lemire reports.


INAUGURATION EXPLAINER: Biden’s event will be very different, Ashraf Khalil reports.


Harris’ Role: Kamala Harris will make history when she becomes the nation’s first female vice president — and the first Black woman and the first woman of South Asian descent to hold that office. But that’s only where her boundary-breaking role begins. A confluence of crises confronts the Biden administration, and an evenly divided Senate means that she will break any tie votes. Harris is shaping up to be a central player in addressing everything from the pandemic to criminal justice reform, Alexandra Jaffe reports.


Senate Control: What does a 50-50 Senate get Biden? The unexpected new balance of power giving Democrats only the barest control of Congress has immediate consequences for the president-elect, including easy confirmation of his Cabinet. But it offers only modest hope for his ambitious legislative agenda. Republicans will remain poised to block most of Biden’s proposals, just as they thwarted much of President Barack Obama’s efforts on Capitol Hill. But 50/50 control permits action on special legislation that can’t be filibustered. Momentum for the popular parts of COVID-19 relief could easily propel an early aid bill into law, Andrew Taylor reports.


The Departure Note: As he was preparing to leave the White House in January 1989, President Ronald Reagan wanted to write a note to his successor, George H.W. Bush. He reached for a pad emblazoned with cartoon turkeys and the phrase “Don’t Let the Turkeys Get You Down.” Thus began the tradition of outgoing presidents leaving a handwritten message in the Oval Office for their successors. Despite losing to Bill Clinton in the bitter 1992 election, Bush followed Reagan’s lead: “Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck — George,” he wrote. The tradition is in doubt this year, when Trump has vowed not to attend Biden’s inauguration and has pushed the baseless claim that the election was stolen, Will Weissert reports.


Moving Day: Inauguration Day is also moving day at the White House. It’s typically a precision operation carried out in about five hours as the residence staff labors to move out one leader and settle in another. The clock starts ticking when the outgoing and incoming presidents leave the White House together for the swearing-in ceremony. But things will unfold a bit differently this year after Trump said he is skipping the event. The pandemic is another complicating factor. Darlene Superville reports.


Trump Legacy-Truth: Truth caught up with Donald Trump after years of giving chase.

The twice-impeached president painted a fantasy world in office, starring himself. In this world, he did things bigger, better, more boldly than all who came before him while facing enemies more pernicious than any in creation. Fact-checking became a cottage industry unto itself during his tenure. And “alternative facts” became a buzzphrase, coined by one of his admiring aides.


By now it has been thoroughly documented that Trump invented his own reality to suit his goals and his temperament. In his second impeachment, he is charged by the House with inciting an insurrection, with his falsehoods about a “stolen” election at the heart of it all. One of the Democrats who voted to impeach Trump, says Trump leaves a legacy of  “magical thinking…totally cut apart from the world of facts.”  Calvin Woodward reports.


Trump Legacy-Foreign Policy: Biden’s plan to scrap Trump’s vision of “America First” in favor of “diplomacy first” will depend on whether he’s able to regain the trust of allies and convince them that Trumpism is just a blip in the annals of U.S. foreign policy. It could be a hard sell. From Europe to the Middle East and Asia, Trump’s brand of transactional diplomacy has alienated friends and foes alike, leaving Biden with a particularly contentious set of national security issues, Deb Riechmann and Matthew Lee report.


Voter Portraits: After more than 1,400 days of Trump’s presidency — including two bitter elections, two impeachments, more than 26,000 presidential tweets and four years of near-constant upheaval — it is left to American voters to tally it all up. The AP talked with Americans of all political stripes and asked them to assess this moment in their country’s history. While some expressed confidence that the days ahead will find the nation in a better place, others said they were fearful of the future, whether because of the violence displayed at the Capitol or because of concerns about the incoming Biden administration.

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