As Joe Biden became the 46th president of the US on Wednesday, January 20, he finalized 15 executive orders and two directives, undoing his Republican predecessor’s legacy just hours after being sworn in.
As his initial act in office, the president signed executive orders, memorandums, and directives to agencies and reversed the Trump administration’s signature divisive policies on immigration and climate change. Biden has reversed the Trump administration travel ban that explicitly targeted mostly Muslim countries, and has embraced progressive policies on diversity. The restrictions were described by Trump as the “Muslim ban” and came in as an executive order from the former president shortly after he took office in January 2017.
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Additionally, Biden reversed Trump’s attempt to withdraw from international agreements, starting the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord. He issued mandates to wear face masks and enforced social distancing on federal property as part of the country’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden also re-entered the World Health Organization, reversing Trump’s executive action, which initiated the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization soon after the pandemic hit.
Biden and vice president Kamala Harris‘ inauguration was unlike any other due to the Covid-19-related restrictions and security concerns, with a diminished crowd witnessing the oaths in person at Capitol Hill. Three of president Biden’s predecessors attended the ceremony: Barack Obama, who Biden served under for eight years as vice president, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, and the 45th vice president, Mike Pence. The inauguration ceremony included live performances by Lady Gaga, as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
Biden’s first day in office ended with a fireworks display lighting up the sky behind the Washington Monument. The president and first lady Dr Jill Biden watched from a balcony in the White House on Wednesday night, and were joined by their grandchildren.