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US President Joe Biden signs raft of executive orders to reverse Trump decisions, including Paris climate deal

Joe Biden stepped into the White House for the first time as president this evening.

Image: PA Images

Updated Jan 20th 2021, 10:48 PM

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden signed a raft of executive orders to launch his administration Wednesday, including a decision to rejoin the Paris climate accord.

The orders were aimed at reversing decisions by his predecessor Donald Trump, reversing the process of leaving the World Health Organization, ending the ban on entries from mostly Muslim-majority countries, bolstering environmental protections and strengthening the fight against Covid-19.

“We are going to combat climate change in a way we have not done so far,” Biden said.

The new president also said Trump had left him a “very generous” letter in the Oval Office, in keeping with tradition. 

“The president wrote a very generous letter,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

“Because it’s private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him,” he said.

It was unclear until today whether Trump would maintain the tradition of outgoing presidents leaving notes for their successors, after he opted to skip Biden’s inauguration and never formally congratulated him on his election win.

After being sworn in this afternoon, Biden and his vice President Kamala Harris paid their respects to fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery and then arrived at the White House following a somber, crowdless parade escorted by the Army fife and drum corps clad in the red coats of George Washington’s time.

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He then signed over a executive orders, which also included halting construction of Trump’s Mexican border wall. 

Biden, who has vowed a major escalation of vaccination against Covid, earlier warned that the “toughest and deadliest period” was still ahead from the pandemic that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States, more than in any other country.

“We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” he said, striking a new tone from the previous administration. 

© AFP 2021

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