The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The 45th President of the United States

Donald Trump was sworn in on Friday.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Today in 5 Lines

Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. During his inaugural address, Trump pledged to put “America first.” After the swearing-in ceremony, the Obamas left for Palm Springs desert where they will vacation, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden departed for Delaware. The Senate approved retired General James Mattis to lead the Department of Defense and is expected to confirm retired General John Kelly as homeland security secretary. Nearly 100 protestors have been arrested in Washington, D.C.

The Atlantic’s Inauguration Day Coverage:

  • Meet President Trump: Since Election Night, Donald Trump has moved to assert his dominance over the Republican Party, the press, and the public. Now, Molly Ball writes, “he enters the White House as determined as ever to divide and conquer, to punish his enemies, to do things his way and sideline the enforcers of the old order.”

  • Holding Out Hope: Many Trump voters feel optimistic that he will accomplish his campaign promises. Other supporters, however, question his ability to improve the quality of life in the U.S. “We’re all taking a chance,” one voter said. “We don’t really know what we’re going to get sometimes.” (Clare Foran)

  • America’s Fragility: This year’s inaugural celebration rings hollow, David Frum argues, as it serves as a reminder that “Americans so insistently celebrate the peaceful transfer of power precisely because they nervously recognize the susceptibility of their polity to violence.”

  • Counting the Crowds: Journalists will try to determine the number of people who attend this week’s large-scale events like the presidential inauguration or Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington. How will they do it? The process involves satellites and weather balloons. (Robinson Meyer)

  • ‘America First’: Rather than delivering messages of unity and positivity that presidents past have followed, Trump gave an “unusually dark and political” inaugural address, while also playing to his populist brand by emphasizing “the ascension of the people over politicians in Washington.” (David A. Graham)

Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.


President Donald Trump waves as he walks with First Lady Melania Trump during the inauguration parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Evan Vucci / Reuters

What We’re Reading

The Lies Politicians Tell: All presidents lie, but President Donald Trump is in a different league, writes Maria Konnikova. When people are overwhelmed with falsehoods, “our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything,” which may have lasting effects. (Politico)

Looking Back: President Trump is taking on a very different country than President Obama did eight years ago, one that has improved in many areas. NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben breaks down the ways the United States has changed—for better and worse.

The New Agenda: Trump reportedly has a long list of executive orders he plans to issue immediately after taking office. Here are the ways he can shape immigration, climate change, health care, and trade policy in his first few days as president. (Dylan Matthews, Vox)

Reading Between the Lines: If you missed the inauguration, or want more insight on President Trump’s inaugural address, then check out this transcript of his entire speech with added analysis from The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake.


What’s in Store?: James Fallows has been a journalist with The Atlantic for nearly 40 years, but he says “the administration of Donald Trump is less charted, more unprecedented, more uncertain than any I’ve experienced before.” Watch this animated video for his thoughts on the new president and the road ahead.

Question of the Week

This week, we asked you to share which books inform your daily life and help keep things in perspective. Here are some of our favorite responses:

Reader Gail Driscoll enjoys Barack Obama by David Maraniss, Jon Meacham’s American Lion, and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, which she says “exposes the complexity of the problems facing much of the Rust Belt.”

And reader Neel Lahiri picked The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha, writing: “For all that is wrong with society, it pays off to keep the small but important joys of life in mind. Reading a page a day is pure catharsis, and helps me remain calm even when the world is not.”

Visit our Notes section for more great responses, and stay tuned for next week’s Question of the Week contest.

-Written by Candice Norwood (@cjnorwoodwrites)