Recapping President Biden’s early actions in office

“Vice President Joe Biden visit to Israel March 2016” by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem is licensed under CC BY 2.0

After his swearing-in Jan. 20, President Biden took over the @POTUS handle on Twitter and created an Instagram account. Biden’s social media accounts exemplify a term that has been threaded through the message of his new administration: unity. The followers of either account get daily updates of the President’s actions along with videos, live conferences and infographics. The accounts have been busy.

A video posted on Twitter depicts Biden, still in his inauguration suit, signing a stack of executive orders from his seat behind the desk in the Oval Office. 

“Some of the Executive Actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the COVID crisis, going to combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far, and advance racial equity and support our underserved communities, and we’re going to rebuild our economy as well,” Biden said. 

These first priorities have been Biden’s focus, but he reminds those listening that, “these are just all starting points.”

On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order requiring masks on federal property. He rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, reversing the previous administration’s decision to leave the agreement. Biden also took 15 other executive actions on issues spanning racial equity, immigration and LGBTQ+ issues – as well as other actions on COVID-19 and climate change. 

On Jan. 21, Biden released a National Strategy to combat COVID-19. The strategy is based on restoring trust with the American people; creating an effective vaccination campaign; mitigating spread; safely reopening schools, businesses and public transportation; protecting those most at risk and restoring the United States global image. He also renewed U.S. support for the World Health Organization, stating on his Twitter, “America is back at the table.”

His other early actions include fortifying DACA, repealing the ban on transgender people serving in the military, singing a Buy America Executive Order to invest in the future of American Industry, promoting fair housing policies, ending private prisons and strengthening Medicaid. 

Biden has also been steadily forming his cabinet. On Jan. 20, Avril Haines, former White House lawyer, was confirmed as the new Director of National Intelligence. She is the first woman to lead the agency. Lloyd Austin was confirmed on Jan. 22 as Secretary of Defense. A retired four-star general in the Army, Austin is the first African-American defense secretary. The Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as secretary of the Treasury Department Jan. 25, becoming the first woman to lead the department. Antony Blinken, a foreign affairs veteran, was confirmed as Biden’s Secretary of State Jan. 26.

The new President has also found time to speak with other world leaders. On Jan. 25, Biden spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, stating that he wants to reform the U.S. transatlantic alliance with Germany. He spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Jan. 26. They discussed challenges the NATO allies face and affirmed their intention to work together on global challenges. Biden has also spoken with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After each action is taken, a tweet outlining the event shows up on the @POTUS timeline. Some tweets are short messages aligning with the issues Biden has indicated will be his first focus such as “Wear a mask. Save lives.” and “Science will always guide my Administration.” Proving his measured consistency, the account tweeted “Together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness.” The message relays much of the same message he shared during his Inauguration Day speech. As of Jan. 31, the tweet has 137.6 thousand likes – 137.6 thousand Americans unified in the pressing of a button.

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