Joe Biden attempted to project a return to normality at home and abroad on his first day as President as he secured the support of his top intelligence official and moved to bring the US back into the Paris climate accord.
After being sworn in just before midday and delivering his inaugural speech, Joe Biden signed a series of executive actions on Wednesday evening that marked a sharp break with Donald Trump’s policies on immigration, the environment and racial fairness.
Throughout his first few hours in the office, Joe Biden got Senate approval for Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, a crucial national security post for his fledgeling administration.
Avril Haines, the first female director of national intelligence, was approved with overwhelming support in an 84-10 vote in the upper chamber of Congress.
Joe Biden’s decision to re-enter the Paris climate accord in one of his first acts in the Oval Office marked a return to a multilateral approach to the global climate crisis from Washington.
The President was left a note by Donald Trump, which Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, later described as both generous and gracious.
Joe Biden did not disclose the contents of the letter, pending approval from his forerunner, who flew to Florida early on Wednesday morning without attending the inauguration ceremony.
Joe Biden subsequently addressed newly appointed administration staff with a demand for decency that also sought to represent a shift from Donald Trump’s grinding approach to governing.
Joe Biden said: “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot”.
Later in the evening, Joe Biden greeted the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, delivering remarks that echoed his inauguration speech.
He said: “We have learned again that democracy is precious”. In reference to the deadly attack on the US Capitol by a mob of Trump followers two weeks ago.
He added: “Because of you, democracy has prevailed. We’re good people, and to overcome the challenges in front of us requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy – unity”.
Joe Biden added that there were moments in history when more is asked of them as Americans. Referencing the civil war and the achievements of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and he said that they were in one of those moments now, the pandemic, the economic crisis, racial injustice, the climate crisis and threats to their very democracy.
This sounds like Joe Biden’s aim to restore law and order because no matter what your political viewpoints are, it’s wrong to assault the Capitol during a democratic process, and hopefully, Joe Biden and his new team will correct all mistakes made by those before him and he should be his own man.