Biden's first two weeks in the Oval Office

Illustration of President Joe Biden.

Since being sworn into office on Jan. 20, the brand-new president, Joseph R. Biden, has been hard at work wiping the slate clean from the past four years, settling into the presidency, and beginning work on the general promise of his campaign: building a new America. His term has officially begun, and it will last until Jan. 20, 2025.

Other than redesigning the Oval Office, accompanying his impeccably well-dressed First Lady, and demanding a respectful workplace of his staff, Biden has spent a lot of time both undoing Trump’s motions and beginning to remedy what some deem our nation’s most pressing issues. Here is a look at some of the things he has done so far:

  • Biden signed an executive order to mandate the wearing of masks on federal property and encouraged all American citizens to wear them for the next 100 days. The president also plans to call on governors and local leaders across America and encourage them to implement social distancing measures to control the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris climate agreement. He also ordered federal agencies to review over 100 motions from the Trump administration that impacted the environment, such as vehicle emissions standards, aiming to overturn many of these motions.
  • Biden has extended prohibitions of evictions and student-loan payments (temporarily).
  • Biden implemented strategies to increase vaccine supply to states and announced that soon there will begin the primary phase of a federal pharmacy initiative that will utilize specific pharmacies to distribute vaccines to more communities. Additionally, he has set a goal of administering 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 days.
  • Biden is stopping the U.S. government withdrawal from the World Health Organization (or W.H.O.) that Trump began, citing his reason as the idea that nations must “coordinate” together to fight the spread of the virus. 
  • Biden has stressed the importance of a respectful workplace, going so far as to state: “If you’re ever working with me, and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone—I promise I will fire you on the spot.” 

This first two weeks in office, Biden has been criticized for his tendency to be inaccurate when speaking without a script. While he has a propensity to recite basic facts, he can omit details that do not cast him in the best light. For instance, he talked about flattering reviews of his economic plans, but failed to mention the criticisms that say that his plans would cause some Americans to lose jobs. 

Much of the work Biden has done recently that has been applauded was work undoing what Trump did. However, it would be incorrect to say that undoing is necessarily easier than doing, especially when fighting against bureaucratic red tape. Since before his inauguration, Biden has stressed how he will join the left and the right and embrace compromise, though the Wall Street Journal has said that his initial actions do not indicate that he’s aiming for “bipartisan progress.” And it is true: Many of his first actions have been markedly left-leaning. Of course, now that he is the president his actions matter more than promises, and how he will fare in the next four years remains to be seen. 

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