The president’s opening lines: Jeff Tulis and Gary Schmitt on the inaugural address

Unprecedential

Dec 22 2020 • 45 mins

The president’s inaugural address exemplifies America’s republican constitution. It serves as the point of connection between the “poetry” of campaigns and the “prose” of governance. It embodies the peaceful transition of power, usually with the outgoing president present for the occasion. It comes weeks after the election’s other candidate concedes the loss, and moments after the new president swears his constitutional oath of office.

To explore the meaning of inaugural addresses in our constitutional order, University of Texas Professor of Government Jeffrey Tulis and AEI Resident Scholar Gary Schmitt join Adam on today’s episode of Unprecedential. Transitions, as Tevi Troy explained in the last episode, begin to translate campaign promises into policy. By contrast, Gary and Jeff note, inaugural addresses connect the president’s oath of office to the new administration’s agenda.

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