Jan 20, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 484 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Great American reset

President Biden prepares to walk the abbreviated parade route in front of the White House after the inauguration. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Biden had exited his Cadillac with the new "46" license plates and was strolling a short stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue toward his new home when he spotted "Today" show weather legend Al Roker.

  • Biden dropped Dr. Jill Biden's hand — no warning — and trotted over to the delighted Roker.
  • POTUS gave Roker a fist bump and said, "Gotta keep doing this!"

The big picture: It was a very Joe moment in a day that was designed to signal a return to normality in a turbulent America.

  • "Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path," Biden said in his inaugural address. "Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war."

Biden reminded the mob that stormed the Capitol that they failed to stop democracy.

  • "It will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever."

Between the lines: Neither Biden nor President Trump mentioned the other by name today, but Biden didn't need to name names to get the point of this passage across:

Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies.

Biden did name some American sins, including racism, nativism, fear and demonization.

  • "The battle is perennial and victory is never assured."

But he also pointed at America's promise.

  • "Today we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office: Vice President Kamala Harris. Don't tell me things can't change."
From left: First Lady Jill Biden, President Biden, Vice President Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: The inauguration in photos

2. Pics du jour
Screenshot: Fox News

As Biden arrived at Mass this morning, Trump was getting ready to take off in Air Force One for the last time.

  • Mood music: Frank Sinatra's “My Way” was on blast for the crowd as the plane went wheels up.
Screenshot: CNN
3. Catch up quick
  1. Trump's last act as president: Pardoning the ex-husband of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. Go deeper.
  2. China is sanctioning 28 "anti-China" U.S. politicians, including a slew of top officials from the outgoing Trump administration. Go deeper.
  3. Iran is laying out a "road map" for nuclear talks with Biden. Go deeper.
  4. Amazon has offered to help the Biden administration with its coronavirus vaccination goals by mobilizing efforts to inoculate its employees. Go deeper.
  5. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the inauguration with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond. Listen here.
4. 1 final note: Constitution sales soared
Photo: National Archives via AP

More than 1 million copies of the Constitution in various editions were sold in the Trump years, compared to around 600,000 during President Obama's second term, according to NPD BookScan, the AP reports.

  • Notable spikes coincided with his RNC acceptance speech, his inauguration, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the beginning of his first impeachment inquiry.

Between the lines: UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh wondered if one factor was the kinds of Constitutional questions that Trump helped raise.

  • “You have people wondering what the emoluments clause says or the impeachment clause,” Volokh told AP.