PBS NewsHour


Biden executive actions to reverse some Trump policies

President-elect Biden plans for a number of executive actions once in office, including issuing a federal mask mandate, extending a pause on federal student loan payments and interest, rejoining the Paris climate agreement and rescinding the travel ban on some Muslim countries. Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

AIRED: January 18, 2021 | 0:03:44

JUDY WOODRUFF: Among fears of threats and plans to celebrate,

we check in now with our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor.

So, hello, Yamiche.

I know you have been folding the Biden transition team very closely. What more can you share with

us about the concerns and plans to deal with any threats, any worries about security on Wednesday?


Well, the inauguration team of both president-elect Biden and vice president-elect

Harris are projecting confidence in saying that this will be, they believe, a safely held event.

They also believe that these two will be able to hit the ground running. Specifically on the

inauguration team and security, they say they have been working with their security partners

for months, and that they are confident that they are assessing the situation.

This is really a key thing, because they say and officials that I talk to say

inaugurations have a long, long period where they are assessing security matters. And that

is just going to be heightened in the aftermath from the siege on the Capitol.

Another thing is, Joe Biden, while he's preparing for inauguration security,

he also has in mind on his inauguration speech. And I just talked to a Biden official,

who told me that he's going to be focused on the theme of unity. He's also going to

be focused on talking about where we are now and where we are going to be going.

And vice president-elect Harris, she resigned formerly from the Senate

today. And she was questioned about this issue of

security. She said that she felt like she was confident. And she said, I look forward

to taking the oath. She said that she was going to probably have her head up and her shoulders back.

So, that is the Biden team's stance on security.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, we know you have been

following both the president coming in and the president who's leaving.

So, tell us, what more are you learning about what president-elect Biden plans for his

first few days in office and what President Trump has in mind for his last day or two?


Well, president-elect Biden has an ambitious plan to get things started. And President Trump

is also mulling a few things to try to leave his legacy on the White House and this country.

The first thing is that, just in the first day that Joe Biden takes office,

he's going to be doing a number of executive actions. His chief of staff,

Ron Klain, listed them, so I want to walk through some of them.

The first is that he's going to be issuing a mask mandate on federal property and interstate travel.

He's also going to be extending a pause on federal student loan payments and interest.

He plans to try to help, he says, the millions of Americans with federal student loans.

He's also going to be rejoining the Paris climate agreement. That's that

agreement between the United Nations framework,

and it deals with climate change. President Trump very famously pulled out of that.

And he's also going to be planning to rescind the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries. That,

again, was a signature of President Trump

ban. And it was something that critics called discriminatory.

Joe Biden is also in the days after that going to be focused on COVID-19 in particular,

trying to do state -- trying to do actions related to the vaccine rollout, as well as testing.

And President Trump, he's, I'm told, looking at pardons,

really angry and frustrated and still not having any public events. But,

from my understanding, they are gearing up for some sort of long list of pardons,

as well as the president also possibly having a big send-off on the day, the morning of

inauguration, because, as we reported, he will not be going to the inauguration.

JUDY WOODRUFF: That's right, in a precedent-breaking move.

Yamiche Alcindor reporting, as we said, on both the incoming and the outgoing president.

Thank you, Yamiche.