İrem UZUN -TDO- Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, declaring that “democracy has prevailed” and issuing a plain-spoken appeal for unity to a fractured nation grappling with a deadly pandemic and a painful economic crisis. Shortly after being sworn, Biden signed 15 executive actions, undoing policies put in place by his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, and making his first moves on the pandemic and climate change.

The 15 executive actions and two directives amount to an attempt to rewind the last four years of federal policies with striking speed. Only two recent presidents signed executive actions on their first day in office and each signed just one. However Biden, facing the debilitating coronavirus pandemic, a damaged economy and a riven electorate, is intent on demonstrating a sense of urgency and competence that he argues has been missing under his Republican predecessor.  “There’s no time to start like today," Biden said in his first comments to reporters as president.

A series of measures will be enacted to tackle the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the U.S. There will be a mandate to wear masks and practice social distancing on all federal government property. Moreover, Biden has pledged to make the fight against climate change a top priority of his administration. He signed an executive order beginning the process of rejoining the 2015 Paris climate agreement, from which Trump formally withdrew the US last year. He has also revoked the presidential permit granted to the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which environmentalists and Native American groups have fought for more than a decade.

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