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David J. Phillip / AP

In the initial days after Donald Trump won the election, his advisers began discussing how to make his inauguration different from the shows of the past.

Here are some of the ideas that were being kicked around, per a source with direct knowledge:

  • On Inauguration Day, after taking the oath, Trump would sit on a chair before the public and undo loads of President Obama's executive orders. Imagine the theatrics of the scene: Trump, with a massive stack of papers beside him, three feet high, signing away large chunks of the Obama presidency.
  • Trump's inaugural week would have no balls, no parties. Instead, Trump would lay out how America is in crisis and what he'd do in his first 100 days to deal with that crisis. He'd tell the public that this was no time to party. It was a time to get to work.

Now that inauguration has passed, we can see elements of these ideas in what Trump did yesterday and over the past week.

The parties were less of a focus — and far less glitzy — than in previous years (though this was partly because much of Hollywood and the pop music industry wanted nothing to do with Trump.)

And regarding getting to work: There was tension, and lack of communication, right up to the last minute on Friday over whether to sign substantive executive orders on Day One. Ultimately Trump decided to do so, wanting to show he was getting straight to business.

What's next: Trump and a number of his top advisers—like Steve Bannon, who was a producer on 18 movies after working as an investment banker—will focus on the staging, casting, scripting and setting of this presidency. Look for stagecraft and the sometimes wacky ideas.

Go deeper

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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