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President Joe Biden on Wednesday told his staff that anyone found treating a colleague with disrespect will be fired on the spot, in an attempt to distinguish his presidency with dignity of office, public service and humility.
Mr Biden made the comment while administering the oath of office to hundreds of White House officials through video conferencing.
President Biden assured the staff that he knew of their “dedication and commitment” to the nation and that they have a lot to do, which, he said, they are going to do by leading with the “core American values" of "humility and trust.”
“I am not joking when I say this … if you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect … talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot … on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts,” he cautioned on the first day of his presidency.
He said everybody has to be treated with decency and dignity which he said had been “missing in a big way in last four years,” in an apparent reference to the turbulent years of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The president emphasised that they are going to be judged whether or not they restore the “integrity” of government.
He told his staff that he will need their help as they are going to make mistakes. “I will acknowledge them (mistakes) and I will need your help to correct them. We are not going to walk. We are going to take responsibility,” said Mr Biden.
Joe Biden’s message to his staff comes as no surprise for many.
In November, 2020, around the time of the US elections, a note written by Mr Biden in November, 2014, when he was the vice president in the Obama administration, had resurfaced. In the note, he told the staff that he did not want anyone to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work.
“Family obligations include but are not limited to family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, any religious ceremonies, and times of need such as illness or a loss in the family. This is very important to me. If I find out that you are working with me while missing important family responsibilities, it will disappoint me greatly,” Mr Biden wrote.
Even during his 2020 presidential campaign, he talked about policy measures including paid family leaves to support working parents and their families.