Biden targets Trump's legacy with first-day executive actions

NEWS 20.01.2021 16:29
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Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

President-elect Joe Biden plans to take 17 executive actions during his first hours in office Wednesday, moving faster and more aggressively to dismantle his predecessor's legacy than any other modern president.

Biden will sign a flurry of executive orders, memoranda and directives to agencies, making his first moves to address the coronavirus pandemic and undo some of Donald Trump's signature policies.

With the stroke of a pen, he'll halt construction of Trump's border wall, reverse his travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries, and embrace progressive policies on the environment and diversity that Trump spent four years blocking.

Biden also plans to reverse several of Trump's attempts to withdraw from international agreements, rejoining the Paris climate accord and halting the United States’ departure from the World Health Organization — where Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, will lead the US delegation.

His first action will be to impose a mask mandate on federal property, a break in approach to dealing with the pandemic from Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the virus. He will also install a coronavirus response coordinator to oversee the Biden White House's efforts to distribute vaccines and medical supplies.

Biden will sign the executive orders and memoranda in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon, his incoming press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. Psaki and other top Biden officials said the first-day actions are only part of what will be a series of moves to undo Trump policies and implement Biden's campaign promises in his first weeks in office.

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