And what else you need to know today.

Want to get The Morning by email? Here’s the sign-up.


Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Near the end of his inaugural address yesterday, President Biden named six crises that the U.S. faces: the virus, climate change, growing inequality, racism, America’s global standing and an attack on truth and democracy.

“Any one of these will be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is, we face them all at once,” Biden said. “We will be judged — you and I — by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era.”

To get started, Biden announced a longer list of Day 1 executive actions — 17, in all — than any previous modern president, as The Times’s Michael Shear points out. The Biden administration is also asking for legislation by Congress. But here’s our explanation of how the new president is trying to make immediate progress:


Credit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Biden signed an executive order yesterday requiring masks where he has the authority to do so — in federal buildings, for example — as well as a separate order creating a White House position to improve the government’s response to the virus.

He also made clear that he was ending the Trump administration’s hostility to global cooperation by halting the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization. Biden is sending Dr. Anthony Fauci to the group’s meeting today as the head of the U.S. delegation. “It’s an interconnected world,” my colleague Apoorva Mandavilli says. To succeed in combating the virus, “we have to coordinate with other countries.”

Biden is also asking Americans to wear masks for the next 100 days. One question he hasn’t yet answered: How will he persuade more Republican voters — many of whom are skeptical of masks — to wear them?


Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Biden signed two executive orders on climate — one that recommits the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement and another that reverses Donald Trump’s hostility to environmental regulations. “No president has brought in this many people at the start of an administration to work on climate change,” Lisa Friedman, who covers climate policy, said.

Still, these actions are only first steps, Nathaniel Keohane of the Environmental Defense Fund told me. Reversing Trump’s actions is significant, he added — but the world needs more ambitious steps to curb the use of greenhouse gases that are causing so much damage.


Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Biden’s biggest attempts to reduce economic and racial inequality will require congressional legislation. But he took some early steps yesterday.

He has extended moratoriums on evictions and student-loan payments that the Trump administration had put in place. He also ordered federal agencies to root out racially unequal policies. “We have great evidence from economists that tearing down barriers to advancement for men of color and women of all races fueled huge amounts of growth in the United States in decades past,” The Times’s Jim Tankersley said.

Biden also sought to undo several of Trump’s anti-immigration policies. Among the moves: refocusing deportation efforts on those undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the U.S. “Trump, on the other hand, decided that anyone in the country illegally should be arrested and deported,” Miriam Jordan, who covers immigration for The Times, said.


Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

In his address, Biden repeatedly stressed the importance of truth and included a veiled but obvious reference to Trump by criticizing “lies told for power and for profit.” And at her first White House briefing last night, Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, said: “There will be moments when we disagree … but we have a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”

Biden signaled his emphasis on diplomacy by embracing the Paris climate accord and World Health Organization. Another big move to improve the U.S. image around the world was his immediate repeal of a signature Trump policy: the so-called Muslim travel ban. It had restricted nearly all passport holders from several Muslim-majority countries — including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — from entering the U.S.

  • Most presidents’ inaugural addresses have included encomiums to unity. But “Biden’s words felt less like rhetorical flourishes and more like an urgent appeal to stabilize a country reeling” from multiple crises, Julie Pace of The Associated Press wrote.

  • The journalist Clare Malone: “‘Lies told for power and for profit’ is a good line and a description of a thing that’s not going away.”

  • Slate’s Jim Newell: Biden is not likely to erase the country’s political divisions. But he has laid out an agenda with “tangible, deliverable items to make lives better.”

  • Eric Levitz of New York Magazine: “He does not seek the unity of all Americans, only that of ‘enough of us’ to drag the rest toward justice.”

  • “It wasn’t a memorable speech, but its informal style was true to Biden,” National Review’s Rich Lowry wrote. “Obviously it’s much easier to talk unity than achieve it.”

  • Biden’s declaration that he would “defeat” white supremacy echoed Ulysses S. Grant, the president who crushed the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War, The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb noted.


Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
  • Amanda Gorman, 22, was the youngest person to deliver an inaugural poem. You can watch her performance, or read the text.

  • Gorman said she had listened to the musical “Hamilton” for inspiration. “You were perfect,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show’s creator, wrote to her on Twitter. “Brava!”

  • Like Biden, Gorman has had a speech impediment, and it helped draw her to poetry. Before the inauguration, she practiced delivering her poem “The Hill We Climb” over and over, she told The Times.


Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
  • Purple — a blend of red and blue — was the color of the day. (It’s also one of the signature colors of the suffragists.) Vice President Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton all wore variations of the color.

  • Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, as well as Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, wore American designers. Harris’s outfit was designed by Christopher John Rogers, the latest Black designer whose clothes she has spotlighted.


Credit…Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Senator Bernie Sanders and his mittens became a meme. They are Vermont-made, and he wore them on the campaign trail, Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed News wrote.

  • Lady Gaga, who wore a large brooch of a dove carrying an olive branch as she sang the national anthem, evoked the dystopian book series “The Hunger Games.” Its heroine, Katniss Everdeen, sports a pin of a fictional bird.

  • Sneakerheads admired the rare pair of Dior Air Jordan 1s that Nikolas Ajagu, husband of Meena Harris and nephew-in-law of Kamala Harris, wore to the ceremony.

  • The Senate confirmed Avril Haines to be the director of national intelligence. She was Biden’s first cabinet nominee to receive a vote.

  • The Washington Post got a peek at how Biden has redecorated the Oval Office, from bringing back Bill Clinton’s drapes to installing a big portrait of Franklin Roosevelt, a president who steered the nation through multiple crises.

  • Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend and Katy Perry — singing “Firework” to actual fireworks over the Mall — were among those who performed at a celebration to mark the day.

  • “The performances stuck to a theme: hope in a dark time,” The Times’s critic writes.

  • The World Health Organization reported that 93,000 people died of the coronavirus across the globe last week, a record. (Here’s how to protect yourself.)

  • Because of a shipping delay, New York City postponed 23,000 vaccination appointments that were scheduled for this week.

  • Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group loyal to Trump, are calling him “weak,” as more of them face charges over storming the Capitol.

  • Antifascist and racial-justice protesters in Portland, Ore., and in Seattle smashed windows, marched through the streets and burned an American flag, saying that the Biden administration “won’t save us.”

  • Several species of salmon in the Pacific Northwest are “on the brink of extinction,” partly as a result of climate change.

  • A U.S. woman living in Bali praised the Indonesian island as “queer friendly.” In response, the authorities deported her for “spreading information that could unsettle the public.”


Credit…Gottlieb’s Bakery

A Morning Read: An ode to Gottlieb’s Bakery, whose Georgia-made rye bread rivaled any deli in New York City for those who grew up with it.

From Opinion: Access to the coronavirus vaccines has been unfair and inequitable. But if you’re offered one, you should take it — no matter how undeserving you may feel, Melinda Wenner Moyer writes.

Lives Lived: Margo St. James was one of the nation’s most prominent advocates for sex workers, devoting her life to decriminalizing prostitution and destigmatizing its practitioners. She called her organization COYOTE (for Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics). She died at 83.


Credit…Yossy Arefi for The New York Times

Earl Grey tea and orange zest add a citrusy, floral essence to this buttery cake.

The 20-year-old British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks talks about making music that strikes the perfect balance of happy and sad.

The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was multiply. Today’s puzzle is above — or you can play online if you have a Games subscription.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Head-butt (three letters).

Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David

P.S. A hidden haiku in Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 inaugural address, recently spotted by @nythaikus: “Though passion may have / strained it must not break our / bonds of affection.” And one from Biden’s: “We can join forces / stop the shouting and lower / the temperature.”

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about the inauguration. On the latest “Sway,” Isabel Wilkerson discusses America’s caste system.

Claire Moses, Ian Prasad Philbrick, Tom Wright-Piersanti and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at

Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox.

Originally posted on