On Friday, Donald Trump became the nation’s 45th president. While the transition of power took only a matter of minutes, Trump’s road to the White House was much longer. From before his New Hampshire primary until a visit to a church on the morning of his inauguration, Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford followed the businessman and reality TV show star’s path to the nation’s highest office.
Botsford cultivated relationships with the campaign and supporters alike. He attended rallies in dozens of states, focusing on potential voters. He was fascinated by their full-throated enthusiasm, which was present from the start. Every day was a battle to fight for access, in all its forms. Trump seized every opportunity to decry the press and also shrewdly shaped his own visuals. But that didn’t stop Botsford. Instead it drew him closer.

“I wanted to try and see in him what all these people were seeing,” Botsford said, “and that is why the people and the places were just as important as the man himself.”

Botsford’s photographs do more than reflect the dynamism and power of Trump. They reveal the breadth of America’s yearning and the demand for change in 2016. And since the election, they provide a narrative of a government, as Botsford puts it, “forming before my eyes.”

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