Biden signs over a dozen executive orders on Inauguration Day

By Tamar Mosby, Editor

Edited 1/21/2021 11:44 a.m.

After being sworn in Wednesday morning as the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden signed several executive orders undoing some of the orders signed into effect by former President Donald Trump.

Biden signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations total. The orders address topics dealing with the environment and climate, immigration, the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and diversity and inclusion, according to an article from the New York Times. 


(See More: Biden’s first executive actions include rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and ending Trump’s travel ban. )

“Some of the executive actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the COVID crisis and combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far, and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities. We’re going to rebuild our economy as well and these are all just starting points,” Biden said in a televised statement from the Oval Office. “There’s no time to start like today. […] I am going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people. [We have a] long way to go, these are just executive actions. They are important but we need legislation for a lot of these we’re going to do.”

Many of these executive orders are set to overturn previous executive orders made by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, including travel bans and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. 

His executive actions are also set to reverse Trump’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military.

(See More: On Day 1, Biden Moves to Undo Trump’s Legacy

“[The president’s executive orders will] immediately reverse the elements of the Trump policies that were deeply inhumane and did not reflect our country’s values,’’ Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser said in a New York Times article.

The first order Biden signed dealt with the nation’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic.


To help combat the spread of COVID-19, the president signed an order that appointed an official COVID-19 response coordinator, and restored the board of directors for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council, according to the New York Times. 

Among these things, Biden has chosen to re-establish the nation’s membership with the World Health organization with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci heading the U.S. delegation to the executive board.

Climate change was another key issue addressed in the executive actions on Wednesday. According to CNBC, the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord in 30 days after Biden signed a letter to reinstate the nation’s membership. 

Beside the climate accord, Biden signed orders to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit and overturn other environmental policies established by Trump, according to the New York Times.

Biden also signed executive orders addressing racial and LGBTQ equality. According to the New York Times, these orders include the ending of Trump’s 1776 Commission and the limiting of federal agencies and organizations to hold diversity and inclusion training, the reporting and review of equity within federal agencies and equal access for all Americans to government resources, benefits and services. 

Biden strengthened Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Another topic the Biden administration stressed was its dedication to honest and open communication with the American people and press, which had been a controversial issue with the previous administration.

“I have deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy, and for the role all of you play. As I noted earlier there will be moments when we disagree and there will certainly be days when we disagree for extensive parts of the briefing even perhaps, but we have a common goal which is sharing accurate information with the American people,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during the first press briefing. 


Editor Tāmar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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