Biden signs executive orders regarding COVID-19, Paris climate agreement

Hours after being sworn in on Wednesday, President Biden signed executive orders regarding mask wearing and social distancing on federal property, supporting underserved communities, and reentering the U.S. into the Paris climate accord. Biden also said he received a letter from former President Donald Trump but wouldn’t discuss its contents.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: Well, this is going to be the first of many meetings we're going to have in here. And I thought with the state of the nation today, there's no time to waste, get to work immediately.

As we've indicated earlier, we're going to be signing a number of executive orders over the next several days to week, and I'm going to start today. The compounding crisis of COVID, that COVID-19 along with the economic crisis following that, and climate crisis, racial equity issues. Some of the executive actions I'm going to sign today, they're going to help change the course of the COVID crisis, and we're going to combat climate change in a way that we haven't done so far, and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities. We're going to rebuild our economy as well. And these are just all starting points.

And we're going to in the process of rebuilding the economy, do what I said throughout the campaign and while running, that we rebuild the backbone of the country. The middle class. And so it's going to be a lot of focus on that. And 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. So what I'm going to be doing, I'm proud of today's executive actions. So I'm going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.

A long way to go. These are just executive actions. They are important, but we're going to need legislation for a lot of the things we're going to do. And the first order I'm going to be signing here relates to COVID, and that's requiring, as I said all along, where I have authority, mandating that masks be worn and social distancing be kept on federal property and interstate commerce, et cetera. This is the first one I've signed.

And the second one I'm signing here is the support for underserved communities. And you know already we've have to make sure we have some bedrock equity, quality as it relates to how we treat people in health care and other things that you can do-- we'll give you copies of these executive orders. Third, what I'm going to sign, and this I can do while you're all here, is a commitment I made that we're going to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord as of today.


- Mr President.

- Thank you.

- Mr President.


Let's go, let's go.

JOE BIDEN: The president wrote a very generous letter. Because it was private, I will not talk about it until I talk to him, but it was generous.