As he walked through the front gate of the White House complex last year for the first time as President, Joe Biden declared it felt like “going home.”
If the presidency seemed then like a natural fit for a 50-year creature of Washington, today its limits are leading to a reckoning over expectations and ambitions in a country as exhausted, angry and divided as ever.
Biden enters the second year of his term with one of the lowest approval ratings of a modern-day president, depleted of the political capital and sense of confidence that followed him into office.
A sense of normalcy returned to the White House following the whiplash of Donald Trump’s presidency, but a string of setbacks — at home and abroad — have eroded the air of competence that once surrounded a President and his team, who have spent most of their lives in government and campaigned for the job on a pledge of restoring order.
On most days since Jan. 20, 2021, the President has arrived at the Oval Office early in the morning, peppered his team with detailed questions and tried not to think too much about the man who’d just vacated the building, leaving behind a pandemic, angry divisions and — inside a drawer of the Resolute Desk — a lengthy letter for Biden.
The President has worked to make the place his own, installing his family’s furniture, ordering up chocolate ice cream bars branded with the presidential seal and returning to traditions his predecessor abandoned.
Read the full story below: