President-elect Joe Biden is preparing a series of executive orders to reverse some of the signature policies of Donald Trump’s one-term presidency, after declaring victory in the 2020 US election.
Mr Biden has vowed to promptly re-enter the Paris climate accord, which the US officially exited last week, when he assumes office on January 20, and to reverse the process of leaving the World Health Organization, which began under Mr Trump.
He is also expected to reinstate the programme offering a path to US citizenship for “Dreamers” — the young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as small children — and to undo Mr Trump’s travel ban that blocked visitors from several Muslim-majority countries.
“Throughout the campaign, Joe Biden has noted that there are a number of things that we need to tackle and do and that we will need to start on day one,” Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, told CNN.
“Yes, that includes addressing the climate crisis. Yes, that includes, in his 100-day strategy, rebuilding on the success of the Obama/Biden administration’s 21st century task force on policing, tackling the virus.”
Mr Biden’s first act will be to announce his own coronavirus task force on Monday to tackle what he has proclaimed to be the first priority of his administration — ending the coronavirus pandemic in the US.
He is due to announce the panel of medical experts as he begins to select his cabinet — an administration that he has vowed will be the most diverse in US history.
Mr Biden was declared the winner on Saturday after the Associated Press called the state of Pennsylvania for the former vice-president. As of Sunday evening, he was leading Mr Trump by more than 10,000 votes in Georgia, 21,000 votes in Arizona, 31,000 votes in Nevada and 43,000 votes in Pennsylvania. Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania have been called in Mr Biden’s favour but Georgia has not. A recount will be conducted in the southern state.
While Mr Biden plans his transition to the White House, the outgoing president continues to claim that the election has been stolen from him, without providing evidence.
Twenty-four hours after US networks called the election in Mr Biden’s favour, Mr Trump still had not called Mr Biden to concede the race on Sunday, breaking with modern historical precedent. The lack of a concession has raised concerns among some Democrats that the Trump administration will not fully co-operate with the Biden transition team — a key part of government continuity.
On Sunday morning, Mr Trump headed to his Virginia golf course for the second day in a row without speaking to the press.
On Twitter, Mr Trump made unsubstantiated allegations that Tuesday’s presidential vote had been “a stolen election” — claims that Twitter flagged as being “disputed”.
Former US president George W Bush issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, congratulating Mr Biden and Ms Harris on their victory.
“I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” he said. “The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.”
Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate and one of the few Republican lawmakers to criticise Mr Trump publicly, warned in several television interviews that the president’s claims of widespread election fraud were dangerous to the country.
“I think when you say that the election was corrupt or stolen or rigged, that that’s unfortunately rhetoric that gets picked up by authoritarians around the world,” Mr Romney told NBC’s Meet the Press.
Ms Sanders told CNN that Mr Biden had heard from “a number” of Republican members of Congress, but not from anyone at the White House. “I think the White House has made clear what their strategy is here and that they are going to continue to participate and push forward these flailing and, in many respects, baseless legal strategies,” she said.
A Republican consultant close to the Trump campaign said by the weekend most people close the president were already understanding “the reality of things”.
“I think it’s pretty clear where this is going to go,” he added. “They’re not going to find [tens of thousands of] fraudulent votes in Pennsylvania.”
He argued, however, that in some ways the outcome was perhaps the best losing scenario the president could have hoped for.
“In the end, Trump will basically just say this election was stolen from me . . . He lost in basically the best way possible. He over-performed all expectations. The GOP won house seats. They’re probably going to hold the Senate . . . He’s going to end up with more votes than he did in 2016.”
The consultant added: “There’s no transactional reason to throw Trump out of the party or expunge him now. All the smart people in DC understand they need him now. The entire base thinks it was stolen.”