Speed Reads

biden inauguration

Biden signs wave of executive orders to immediately reverse Trump policies

President Biden has entered the Oval Office — and has immediately started undoing former President Donald Trump's legacy.

After his inauguration Wednesday, Biden made his way into the White House for the first time as president, and found what he called a "very generous letter" Trump had left there for him. And after sitting down at the Resolute Desk, Biden signed a wave of executive orders overturning Trump's policies and installing others the former president would've opposed.

For starters, Biden instituted a mask mandate on all federal property across the U.S. Biden can't force Americans to wear masks everywhere — that's up to governors — but he does have jurisdiction over any federal government-owned property. He also stopped Trump's planned withdrawal from the World Health Organization, which Trump criticized for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and started the process of putting the federal government in charge of vaccine and testing coordination.

The U.S. had also just withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord after Trump moved to step away from it years ago. But Biden's executive order signed Wednesday put the U.S. on track to rejoining it. Another order also temporarily banned oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

After four years of Trump's hardline immigration policies, and seemingly in an attempt to restore the Obama administration's immigration legacy, Biden quickly took action on immigration as well. He signed orders reversing Trump's Muslim travel ban and stopping construction of the southern border wall, and plans to bring a massive immigration reform bill to Congress on Wednesday.