Washington DC, USA: US President Joe Biden has undone some of Donald Trump’s key policies, hours after being sworn in.
In his initial acts as the 46th US president, he signed 15 executive orders – the first to boost the federal response to the coronavirus crisis.
Other orders reversed the Trump administration’s stance on climate change and immigration.
President Biden set to work at the Oval Office having been sworn in earlier on Wednesday at the US Capitol.
Donald Trump – who has still not formally conceded the presidency to Biden – snubbed the event in a departure from longstanding precedent.
There was extra-tight security for the ceremony at the US Capitol after the building was stormed by violent pro-Trump protesters on 6 January.
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, together with Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, then walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, greeting friends and supporters.
The inauguration ceremony included musical performances by Lady Gaga – who sang the national anthem – as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.
Amanda Gorman, America’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, recited her work The Hill We Climb.
A 90-minute televised evening concert entitled “Celebrating America” was staged at the Lincoln Memorial in the city. Hosted by Tom Hanks, it featured Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, and Demi Lovato and culminated in a spectacular fireworks display.
I give you my word: I will always level with you.
I will defend the Constitution, our democracy, and America.
And I will give my all in your service thinking not of power, but of possibilities. pic.twitter.com/8fbFUjzVZu
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 22, 2021
“There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face,” President Biden tweeted as he headed to the White House following his inauguration.
President Biden “will take action – not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration – but also to start moving our country forward,” a statement detailing his executive orders said.
A series of measures will be enacted to tackle the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the US.
There will be a mandate to wear masks and practise social distancing on all federal government property.
A new office will be set up to co-ordinate the response to the pandemic and the US will halt the process – begun by the Trump administration – of withdrawing from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The move to re-engage with the WHO was welcomed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who said it was “absolutely critical” for a more coordinated global response, his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said.
Mr Biden has also 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 Mr Trump formally withdrew the US last year.
Biden’s climate envoy, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, tweeted that the commitment set “a floor, not a ceiling” for America’s climate leadership and urged international co-operation ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (Cop26) in Glasgow in November.
Biden 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.
The move will be discussed when Biden makes his first phone call to a foreign leader – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – on Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.