It's not uncommon for presidential candidates to assure voters they intend to do big things on their first day in the White House. The point, obviously, is to convey to an impatient electorate an interest in implementing immediate changes.
Evidently, President Joe Biden meant it.
President Joe Biden spent his first hours as president undoing many of the hallmarks of former President Donald Trump's tenure and allowing Biden to begin his own path on how the U.S. will respond to multiple national crises. Biden signed more than a dozen executive actions Wednesday in the Oval Office just hours after arriving at the White House after having been sworn in as the 46th president.
Senior adviser Cedric Richmond, the incoming director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, told NBC News, "We're not going to wait weeks. We're going to come in and hit the ground running.... I think that that is the most important part, to show the American people that we're serious about governing."
After having written a book about the Republican Party's indifference toward governing, I'll confess to being heartened by the last four words of Richmond's quote.
The full list of executive orders and actions from Biden's first day isn't short, but the New York Times did a nice job of breaking the measures into categories:
On the coronavirus pandemic, the new president took a variety of worthwhile steps, including re-engaging the United States with the World Health Organization.
On immigration, Biden ended the Trump Muslim ban, strengthened DACA protections for Dreamers, and halted construction on the so-called "wall" along the U.S./Mexico border.
On the climate crisis, the Democrat rejoined the Paris climate accords, revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and directed federal agencies to reevaluate fuel economy and emissions standards.
On social justice issues, Biden scrapped the Trump administration's absurd "1776 Commission," and as NBC News' report added, he also directed federal departments to review "the state of equity" in their agencies and deliver plans "to address unequal barriers to opportunity in agency policies and programs." He also tasked the Office of Management and Budget to more equitably allocate federal resources to "empower and invest in communities of color and other underserved communities."
On the economy, the new president extended an evictions moratorium and paused interest and principal payments for students who received federal loans.
In brief comments to reporters, Biden said, "I think some of the things we're going to be doing are going to be bold and vital -- and there's no time to start like today."
Righting every Trump wrong won't be easy, and it can't be done immediately, but the new president took a big step in the right direction on his Inauguration Day.