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Joe Biden Wastes No Time Scrubbing the Cheeto Stains Out of Nation’s Collective Rug
It’s going to take months, maybe years to clean up the shit that Donald Trump hath wrought on the nation; decades from now, new inhabitants of the Oval Office will probably still be able to point to the spot on the rug where the 45th president took a metaphorical crap, as complicit officials, aides, and family members looked on and did nothing, not even once suggesting that, at the very least, someone should take him outside. Luckily, Trump was prevented from making an even bigger, irreversible mess, and on Wednesday, and Joe Biden wasted no time strapping on a hazmat suit and getting down to the long, arduous task of cleaning up the steaming pile left by his predecessor.
Hours after saying at his inaugural address that “we’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities,” Biden kicked off a 10-day sprint to undo as much Trump damage as possible, starting with a series of executive orders taking aim at four years of incompetence and harm. Per the Associated Press: Biden wore a mask while seated behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of orders early Wednesday evening. He said there was “no time to start like today.” The first order Biden signed was related to the coronavirus pandemic…. Biden is requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors. Biden also is directing the government to rejoin the World Health Organization, which Donald Trump withdrew from earlier this year after accusing it of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus. Symbolizing Biden’s commitment to a more prominent global role, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci will deliver a speech Thursday to the WHO as head of a U.S. delegation. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, will lay out how the administration intends to work with the WHO on reforms, supporting the coronavirus response and promoting global health and health security. Biden also signed an order to reenter the Paris climate accord; placed a temporary moratorium on new oil and gas leasing by the Trump administration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; immediately ended the national emergency that Trump declared to divert billions from the Department of Defense to construct his wall; asked the CDC to extend a ban on evictions that expires this month until at least the end of March; asked the Education Department to extend a freeze on interest and principal payments of federal student loans through at least September 30; ended the Muslim ban; and called on the Department of Homeland Security to protect Dreamers from deportations and issue them work permits. Further executive actions in the coming days are likely to include revoking Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, in addition to reversing the policy blocking U.S. aid to organizations abroad that perform abortions or offer counseling on such procedures, according to new White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Of course, Trump was never going to go quietly, and in addition to inciting a violent mob to stop Biden from becoming president, his administration made sure to leave a bunch of land mines for the Biden staff like the team players they are. Per Politico: …there is a fear among Biden’s team that the roadblocks they encountered during the chaotic transition shielded them from understanding the full scope of the problems at various agencies, and that the state of the executive branch is far worse than they understood—“the tip of the iceberg” as one senior transition aide put it. At the National Security Council, Trump officials were reluctant to share information about who was even on the staff, and at the Department of Defense, requests for information were either ignored or only partially answered. At the Office of Management and Budget, the practice of making career officials available for the incoming administration to craft their budget was disregarded, leaving Biden officials frustrated that their budget will likely be delayed. And at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the lack of interest in assisting the Biden transition was stated plainly. The obstacles to the Biden transition’s work spanned across the government and ranged in severity. Some Trump staffers tried to be helpful, Biden officials said, but President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede to Biden stymied the handoff from the top. The feeling on Biden’s team, as they turn to governing after the exhilaration of victory and the frenzy of transition planning, is something akin to peering into a dark abyss: They don’t yet know what lurks out of view. And as Biden and his staff move into the White House and agencies on Wednesday, administration officials recognize that some of their priorities will inevitably be sidelined by the need to fix messes from the outgoing administration that they aren’t even aware of yet. WATCH Louis Vuitton's Nicolas Ghesquière Breaks Down His Fashion Career Most Popular Kamala Harris’s Inauguration Outfit and More Fashion Diplomacy From Inauguration Day By Katey Rich Womp, Womp: No One Wants to Be Caught Dead at Trump’s Inauguration Day Send-Off By Bess Levin Melania Trump and Her $75,000 Birkin Bag Make Their Exit By Kenzie Bryant Advertisement “Ultimately the level of information that we were given access to was inadequate, I mean just grossly inadequate, particularly in the context of a historically unprecedented set of challenges that the nation is facing,” a source told Politico. “It’s really quite shocking.” On top of all the potential unwanted surprises left for the Biden administration to discover, the new staff will have to deal with the fact that many qualified civil servants fled the government rather than work under Trump, leaving the incoming team with a massive deficit of career staffers. “The number of really remarkable public servants who’ve left the government means that even before we can solve the worst budget deficit in our lifetimes, even before we can solve the worst pandemic of our lifetimes, even before we can undo the deep damage to our climate, to our schools, to our economy…the Biden administration will have to rebuild OMB to get the talent and trust that’s needed to move the country forward,” Shaun Donovan, who served as OMB director under Barack Obama, told Politico. “I’ve never seen a more toxic atmosphere in my lifetime.” But there will be a time to curse out Donald Trump and his merry band of accomplices, and that will be from tomorrow through 2121 and perhaps all of eternity. For today, let’s focus on the fact that no one has to worry about the 46th president of the United States shitting on the Constitution. If you would like to receive the Levin Report in your inbox daily, click here to subscribe. European leaders react to Trump’s departure like they just defeated the Nazis You can probably appreciate where they’re coming from: With almost palpable relief, longstanding American allies welcomed Joe Biden as he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday. Some signaled hopes for a radical change in the White House, particularly in its approach to climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. And a few took parting shots at Donald Trump and his nationalist, “America first” agenda. The European Union's top politician, Ursula von der Leyen, said that “after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.” Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, meanwhile, said that Biden represented “victory of democracy over the ultra-right.” Then he took aim directly at the former president. “Five years ago, we thought Trump was a bad joke, but five years later we realized he jeopardized nothing less than the world’s most powerful democracy,” he said in a speech. Most Popular Kamala Harris’s Inauguration Outfit and More Fashion Diplomacy From Inauguration Day By Katey Rich Womp, Womp: No One Wants to Be Caught Dead at Trump’s Inauguration Day Send-Off By Bess Levin Melania Trump and Her $75,000 Birkin Bag Make Their Exit By Kenzie Bryant Advertisement Echoing that sentiment was German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who said he was “greatly relieved,” adding, “Despite all the joy we feel today, we must not forget that even the most powerful democracy in the world has been seduced by populism. We must work resolutely to counter polarization, protect and strengthen the public square in our democracies, and shape our policies on the basis of reason and facts.” Donald Trump doesn’t want anyone to see his tax returns Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Donald Trump’s lawyers made a preemptive move to stop congressional Democrats from obtaining his tax returns as President Joe Biden takes power, asking a judge for an Inauguration Day hearing in a case that could threaten the secrecy of his closely guarded financial information. The Democrats in the last Congress ran out of time in their efforts to enforce a subpoena demanding that the Treasury Department turn over Trump’s tax information, but the new Congress could re-issue the subpoena in the coming days. At noon on Wednesday, Biden took control of the White House, making it possible that the Justice Department could reverse its position in the case and simply hand over the records.