New US President Joe Biden has signed 17 executive orders in his first hours in office targeting some of his predecessor Donald Trump's most controversial policies.
Nine of the orders undid his immediate predecessor's policies, with multiple others targeting Covid, climate change, immigration and racism – including the controversial Muslim ban .
Biden invited TV cameras into the Oval Office on Wednesday – and said the first executive order he was signing was to make face masks compulsory across US government properties to try and combat coronavirus.
Biden then signed an order which will see $1.9trillion of economic help offered to those affected by Covid including the extension of a ban on evictions. The third order saw the US formally rejoin the 2015 Paris Accord aimed at combatting climate change. More orders were signed over the course of Wednesday evening.
One of the most notable Trump decrees reversed by Biden was the former president's so-called Muslim ban, which barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. He also wants to distribute 100million doses of coronavirus vaccines during his first 100 days in office, and help offer better healthcare to Americans living in poverty.
Trump signed the Muslim ban shortly after coming into office in January 2017, and said he had done so for national security reasons.
President Biden also revoked Trump-backed plans for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which angered environmentalists and Native Americans whose reservations it crossed.
And he outlined plans to offer an eight year path to citizenship for undocumented migrants, a marked departure from President Trump's hardline stance on immigration.
Talking to reporters, Biden said his predecessor Donald Trump had left him 'a very generous letter' but refused to reveal its contents, 'because it was private.'
He added: 'I will not talk about it until I talk to him.'
After signing those orders, Biden will swear-in the men and women he has appointed to work for his administration.
Biden entered the Oval Office for the first time shortly before 5pm EST on Wednesday. He also signaled plans to rejoin the World Health Organization. Trump quit the WHO last year after accusing it of conspiring with the Chinese government to cover up the coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, newly-inaugurated Vice President Kamala Harris swore-in two new Democrat senators, giving her party a slight majority in the upper house of the US Congress. As Vice President, Harris – a former California senator – will cast a tie-breaking vote over any issues that cause a 50-50 split when voted on by senators.
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