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Whether it’s his disdain of intelligence analysts, his distance from his party’s agenda, his Twitter torture of corporations or his defiant and diversionary Jan.11 press conference, everything about the Trump transition has tested the machinery of power and protocol.A Presidential handoff comes with established rites and rituals, some political, others personal, all a measure of the weight bearing down on the rising leader of the free world: a meeting (or meetings) between incoming and outgoing Presidents, a summit for their lieutenants and Cabinet officers, that first glimpse into the secret compartments of national security and the fearsome threats abounding, the tour of the living quarters by the First Ladies, a conversation about the kids. Bush hosted a White House welcome lunch for President-elect Barack Obama and all the living former Presidents, some of the talk was about the economy and al-Qaeda, but much was about how you raise a family in the world’s most turbulent fishbowl.These sessions aren’t required by law, but everyone seems to appreciate the help.But Ike had spent years navigating the secret warrens of the capital in his role as Supreme Allied Commander and Army Chief of Staff. At 18 acres, the White House complex is one acre larger than Mar-a-Lago, but security makes it feel smaller.Truman imagined just how hard Eisenhower’s evolution would be. Hillary Clinton could have told him how as First Lady she used to slip out of the White House in disguise and take long walks with a lone Secret Service agent, up Connecticut Avenue to the National Zoo, just to escape.These are buildings where even the trash isn’t so much collected as sorted because nearly everything, every record, memo, email, is saved for posterity.Which means that a man who avoids computers and still conceals his tax returns will live in a world where transparency is etched into law.
It’s not something that the Constitution explicitly requires, but it is one of those norms that are vital to a functioning democracy, similar to norms of civility and tolerance and a commitment to reason and facts and analysis.” At a time of deep division and disagreement, the nation can take comfort that this particular unifying spirit persists, as the following pages attest. PFEIFFER: Most people don’t understand how the actual handover of power works. We watch the final culmination of years of effort to see our friend and boss become President of the United States.On the one hand, Obama has principles to defend in the face of an incoming President who has vowed to dismember Obamacare, trade treaties and environmental guardrails.It recalls Ronald Reagan ordering Jimmy Carter’s solar panels removed from the roof, or John F. Any new President arrives thinking he knows better, with millions of votes—even if not a majority—in his pocket to affirm his sense of mission.BROWN: I remember the President, by accident, walking into my office on Day Two, because he didn’t even know his way around yet.ABRAHAM: You watch depictions of the building in TV or movies, and one notable TV show in particular.