Islamabad: Hours after he was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden on Wednesday began signing executive actions to begin to reverse and overhaul some of the most controversial policies of his predecessor especially the nation’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sounding a conciliatory note in his inaugural address Biden said “I will be a president for all Americans,” speaking directly to those who did not support him in the November election. “I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as those who did.”
He further said that “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path,”, calling on Americans to come together. “We have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. Today on this January day, my whole soul is in this — bringing American people together, uniting our nation, and I ask every American to join me in this cause,” Biden said in his inaugural speech, CNN reported.
Entering the Oval Office for the first time as President in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Biden was slated to sign 17 executive actions, the first of which instituted a mask mandate for federal buildings and inter-state travel.
“I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made,” Biden said as he sat at the Resolute Desk Wednesday evening. But he noted that the nation has “a long way to go” and that Congress would need to pass legislation to follow through on his priorities, which include a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Biden and his family had walked onto the White House grounds on their own hours earlier, as did Kamala Harris — who made history Wednesday when she was sworn in as the first female, the first Black and first South Asian vice president of the United States. She entered the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for the first time as vice president after walking a parade route to the White House grounds with her family.
Trump had left Washington Wednesday morning, ahead of the peaceful transfer of power that took place at noon in the heavily guarded capital city. After Biden was sworn in, he headed to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There he was joined by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, along with their spouses, in a show of continuity and bipartisanship that did not include Trump.
Biden took his oath of office at the US Capitol just two weeks after a mob of insurrectionists invaded and damaged that building seeking to overturn the presidential election based on Trump’s baseless claims about the election being stolen from him due to widespread voter fraud. The new President set out on the daunting task of uniting the nation by urging Americans to come together as they confront the deadly pandemic, an economic collapse that has left millions unemployed and deep divisions over issues of racial justice and police brutality, noting that the nation is struggling through a rise of White nationalism, racism and deep political divisions.