WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s early focus in office started with a promise to go after white supremacists and featured several executive orders immediately reversing Trump administration policies.
Biden also signed new orders on Thursday requiring masks to be worn during travel and on federal properties. Federal resources are also being mobilized to establish 100 new COVID vaccination centers across the country, and Biden is invoking the Defense Production Act to compel more production of coronavirus vaccines.
Biden said the U.S. is in a “national emergency” when it comes to COVID and told Americans to keep wearing masks for the next 100 days.
Biden stressed the need to confront and defeat white supremacy and domestic terrorists in his inaugural address on Jan. 20. That comes in the wake of Trump supporters storming Congress on Jan. 6 as lawmakers were affirming Biden’s win, and with the backdrop of 26,000 troops having been deployed to a heavily locked down Washington for the inauguration.
Several hundred of those troops, as well as state police troopers, were dispatched from Maryland to D.C. by Gov. Larry Hogan.
There are Democrats who want to start more aggressive domestic surveillance, social media restrictions and law enforcement actions against alt-right and right-wing groups.
Biden signed executive orders on Wednesday to bring the U.S. back into the World Health Organization and Paris Climate Accord as well as to protect young immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both Maryland Democrats, welcomed the U.S. rejoining the WHO and Biden’s other actions.
Trump exited the WHO complaining the group was too cozy with China which he blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing to its origins in Wuhan. Van Hollen said rejoining the WHO will help with the battle against the coronavirus.
“The Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization in the middle of a pandemic was deeply misguided and shortsighted. To stop the spread of COVID-19, we must work together. This common-sense decision by the Biden Administration will ensure American participation and provide long-overdue American leadership in the global fight against the coronavirus,” Van Hollen said.
Biden also issued an executive order reinforcing federal discrimination protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Biden’s early agenda worries U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st. Harris represents the Eastern Shore and supports Trump.
He worries about Biden’s reversal of Trump policies, a push for a $15 minimum wage, dismantling Trump’s border wall with Mexico, as well as Democrats and social media allies’ squelching conservative and dissenting voices.
Twitter and Facebook have banned former President Donald Trump as well as other conservative and right-wing accounts after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Harris is also concerned about the “cancel culture vendetta” against Trump and his supporters.”
“President Biden and Vice-President Harris were sworn in today and immediately promised to deliver a liberal agenda under the false guise of unity. Rather than acknowledging an even political split in Congress, they announced a liberal wish list of promises that are devoid of political compromise and will fail to pass into law. On top of that, President Biden will issue over a dozen executive actions today, compared to a combined two over the last four presidents,” Harris said in a statement on Wednesday. “Additionally, liberals hope to do all of this while pursuing a long-running cancel culture vendetta against a former president. I urge our new president to work for all Americans, not just the liberal wing of his party.”
If he does work for all Americans, I am standing by ready to help. Moving forward, while we will likely have many disagreements on policy, I pray our nation remains blessed during the new administration’s time in office,” Harris said.
On the other side of the Bay and the political divide, Van Hollen welcomed Biden’s action on immigration, climate change and and reversing Trump’s restrictions on travel to the U.S. from several countries with anti-American agendas or links to terrorism.
Van Hollen supports Biden’s order related to DACA, which protects young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their families. Trump had sought to dismantle DACA as part of his efforts to get more money for the border wall.
“Immigrants make our communities stronger, bolster our economy, and underscore the very values and principles our country was built upon. That’s why I’m so pleased to see President Joe Biden not only take immediate action today to protect DACA recipients, but also lay out a sweeping plan to fix our immigration system as a whole,” Van Hollen said.