What Joe Biden did on his first day as POTUS

Biden spent most of his first day reversing executive decisions that Donald Trump had made.

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After being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden spent most of his first day reversing executive decisions that Donald Trump had made. During his presidency, Trump had signed several controversial mandates, directives and decisions that stirred discussions across the globe.

“Some of the executive actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the COVID crisis, we’re going to combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities,” he said, as reported by the Reuters news agency.

One of the divisive policies of Trump was the USA withdrawing from the Paris Climate agreement in 2015, which weakened the country’s stand in curtailing climate change. On Wednesday, Biden announced that the USA will re-enter the agreement that expects countries to enhance their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions every five years. According to experts, Biden’s decision reaffirms the USA’s stand to co-operate in the fight against climate change as it seeks to reclaim the leadership it once held. According to Biden’s office, the move to rejoin the Paris accord is expected to take effect 30 days after it is deposited with the UN.

While Trump implicitly stated on several occasions that the COVID-19 induced pandemic wasn’t as serious as scientists and COVID statistics made it out to be, he also refrained from instituting a team that could efficiently help the US government in handling the pandemic. On his first day, Biden has decided to establish a WHO COVID-19 team while also re-joining WHO. The Trump administration had notified the Congress and United Nations last year that the USA would be formally withdrawing from the WHO – a decision that would have gone into effect this July. Moreover, Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will be attending the ongoing WHO Executive Board meeting at the head of the US delegation.

Additionally, in a step towards combating the pandemic, Biden has also signed an order to institute a 100-day mask mandate across the USA. The ‘100 Days Mask Challenge’ orders Americans to do their “patriotic duty and mask up for 100 days”, which will help the country to try and curb the spread of COVID-19. A COVID-19 response coordinator has also been appointed who will report directly to the President and help manage a national response to the pandemic.

To combat racial differences, Biden has lifted the ‘Muslim ban’ – an executive signed by Trump in 2017 that banned travellers from seven Muslim countries from entering the USA. The council of American-Islam relations welcomed the decision saying it is “an important first step toward undoing the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies of the previous administration”. 

Additionally, while rescinding most of Trump’s divisive decisions, Biden has halted the construction of the wall that was being built on the US-Mexico border. The wall was one of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises.

When Biden served as the Vice-President to then POTUS Barack Obama, the US had adopted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to provide temporary relief from deportation to children who were brought to the US. While the Trump administration tried to terminate the programme which was aiming at helping at least 700,000 young people, Biden has signed a presidential memorandum asking the Secretary of Homeland Security to preserve and fortify DACA.