President Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday.
It was a cold, and briefly snowy, day in Washington, as Biden and Vice President Harris were sworn in at the U.S Capitol building.
The moment was marked by reminders that our country’s circumstances are far from normal: Attendees wore masks and the small number of guests were seated at a distance. Barricades lined the area around the Capitol, and thousands of National Guard members surrounded much of downtown Washington.
Biden acknowledged our country’s challenges in his speech — a speech that captured a somber yet hopeful moment for many Americans.
The new president is inheriting a country facing serious challenges. Institutions have been weakened, the country is more divided than ever, the ways we measure and understand political sentiment are flawed, and misinformation and disinformation have become powerful pieces of the national discourse.
That’s a tall order for any administration.
Yet Biden and his team have vowed to move our nation forward.
Biden campaigned on a promise to fix what’s broken, to repair divisions, to pull this country out of sickness, and to restore some of the norms and institutions that were pillars of the Washington in which he built his career. But can he do that?
Does he have the power, ability, or even the will to set the country on a real path toward unity?
On Season 2 of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, each episode will probe these questions to examine how Biden is using the presidency, the role of our government in addressing the crises facing the country, and the impact of what happens in Washington on people around the country.
In the first episode of this new era for the country and the podcast, listeners shared their hopes and fears for the Biden administration. Some were hopeful for the days ahead.
Others were deeply worried the country would fail to unite, and afraid that our divisions were too strong and too hard to overcome.
Post White House reporter Matt Viser, who has spent the past two years covering Biden and his campaign, joined the podcast to talk about the Biden administration’s transition from making campaign promises to setting policy.
“Biden has been kind of relentlessly optimistic about being able to change the tenor of political discourse,” Viser said.“How lasting that shift is going to be will be the major enduring question for the Biden presidency.”
Viser shared insights into what’s at the top of Biden’s agenda — notably the coronavirus response and a new approach to climate change — which norms he will reinstate, and what parts of Trump’s changes to the presidency are here to stay.
As we look to the future of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, we’ll ask new questions about this extraordinary moment in American history and offer answers with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and implications of it all when so much about the current state of American life and the country’s politics is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
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