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Biden’s First Day As President

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The United States’ new President Joe Biden rightly noted in his inaugural speech on Wednesday that any one of the “cascading crises” his administration currently faces would have been profound enough. But the fact is, we face them all at once,” he said.

Biden listed the following six crises facing the U.S and needing the new administration’s immediate attention: coronavirus, climate change, growing inequality, racism, America’s global standing and an attack on truth and democracy.

True to his word, Biden launched his presidential term with the longest list of executive actions taken by any president on his first day in office, to begin tackling these issues.

With respect to COVID-19, Biden made it compulsory for masks to be worn at all places where he has the authority to enforce it. He also created a new position in the White House to improve the government’s response to the virus. Significantly, he halted the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization, as his predecessor had decreed under his “America first” mantra.

With respect to climate change, Biden recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement, from which again his predecessor had excised the country. In a separate order, he called for the reversal of Donald Trump’s hostility to environmental regulations.

Biden also took early steps aimed at tackling the racial and economic inequality facing America. He extended moratoriums on evictions and student-loan payments which Trump had put in place. He also reversed several of Trump’s anti-immigration policies, such as refocusing deportation to those undocumented immigrants who had committed crimes in the U.S. rather than all illegal immigrants indiscriminately.

Biden also repealed the “Muslim travel ban” put in place by Trump, under which all passport holders of several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, were restricted from entering the U.S.

Finally, Biden emphasised the importance of truth and diplomacy during his address, in obvious comparison with the practice of “lies told for power and for profit” and the so-called policy of “America first” of the last president of the United States.

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Naya Daur