With Trump in power, Nick Shapiro lived on a hair trigger. He runs a crisis-management shop in San Francisco called 10th Avenue Consulting, and he had to prep for scenarios he had once considered utterly implausible. At any time, for any reason, the leader of the free world might pick a fight with an American citizen or company. One of his services was to gird clients, such as the former CIA director and Trump foil John Brennan, for instances when “Trump irrationally tweets against you and then, suddenly, you have the MAGA crowd bearing down on you,” he told me. No longer does Shapiro, a former Obama-administration official, need to puzzle through a possible response. “I don’t know any client worried about President Biden rage-tweeting about them,” he said. With Trump, “you started your day with him and ended your day with him, and in between you had to continue to monitor what he was doing.”
When Trump is an hour-by-hour preoccupation, he shuts off possibilities for more constructive work. Angie Drobnic Holan is the editor in chief of PolitiFact, a national fact-checking website that found Trump made scores of “Pants on Fire” falsehoods throughout the years. With Biden envisaging a full legislative agenda, she expects that her staff of 15 will devote more time to the debates unfolding on Capitol Hill. “One of the fundamentals of misinformation is it distracts from productive conversation,” Holan told me. “We would be fact-checking misinformation that started on the internet, then aired on Fox News, and then got repeated by Trump, instead of a debate on public policy that might result in legislation that would help somebody.