President Biden on his first day in office Wednesday signed 15 executive orders as a move to overturn executive orders made by his predecessor former President Donald Trump in his first hours working in the Oval Office.
Even though he was tired, President Biden, 78, signed three orders right in front of newsmen in the Oval Office. And his press secretary Jen Psaki later told reporters at an evening briefing that the president later signed more 12 the same day.
The first three orders he signed recommitted the US to the Paris Climate Accord, promoted “racial equity” in healthcare and other areas, and mandated that anti-COVID-19 masks be worn in all federal properties.
Psaki also revealed that President Biden signed an order ending Trump’s 2017 travel ban on a group of predominately Muslim countries which include Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Trump put the laws in place for security purposes but Psaki described it as “the Muslim ban, a policy rooted in religious animus and xenophobia.”
According to Psaki, Biden signed orders to halt the construction of Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, rejoin the World Health Organization, resurrect a White House global health team, extend a pandemic ban on evictions and foreclosures, halt student loan payments.
He also reversed Trump’s environmental deregulation and affirm the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects from deportation people brought illegally to the US as children.
A press release from the Human Rights Campaign advocacy group disclosed that the new administration signed a “wide-ranging executive order concerning sexual orientation and gender identity” that prohibits discrimination.
Biden was expected to sign up to 17 executive orders immediately, with most of them overturning the directives of President Trump. He, however, assured that additional orders would follow over the next several days to a week.
Speaking to reporters Biden said, “I thought there’s no time to wait. Get to work immediately. There’s no time to start like today.
“I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people. There’s a long way to go, these are just executive actions. They are important but we’re going to need legislation for other things we’re going to do.”
President Biden also hinted that former President Trump left him a “very generous letter” despite skipping the inauguration for a Wednesday morning flight back to Florida.
“The president wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I will — won’t talk about it until I talk to him. But it was generous,” Biden said.
There is no clue yet as to when the president intends to speak with his predecessor because Psaki during her first briefing on Wednesday evening confirmed there was no scheduled call between Biden and Trump.
“This is a letter that was private, as he said to you all. It was both generous and gracious, and it was just a reflection of him not planning to release the letter unilaterally, but I wouldn’t take it as an indication of a pending call with the former president,” Psaki told newsmen.
Psaki on Monday hinted that Biden will reimpose a COVID-19 travel ban on Brazil, the UK, and Europe’s 26-country Schengen Zone, but it’s not clear whether President Biden signed that order Wednesday. The order would reverse a two-day-old order that was signed by Trump. Without action by Biden, travel from Europe and Brazil would resume next week for travelers with a negative COVID-19 test.