Amongst his flurry of activity signing Executive Orders to reverse some of Trump's worst decisions, there are three interesting actions he's taken that you may not be aware of.
Shortly after his inauguration, Joe Biden virtually swore in hundreds of presidential staff, sternly warning them they would get the sack if they are rude. Speaking at the White House, he said: "I'm not joking when I say this, if you're ever working 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. Everybody, everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity." He continued: "We have to restore the soul of this country and I'm counting on all of you to be part of that. And it's not hyperbole. The only thing I expect with absolute certitude is honesty and decency." Isn't that good to hear?
Biden is also proposing a bill that, if passed, would remove the word "alien" from US immigration laws, replacing it with the term "noncitizen." It's just one small part of the sweeping immigration overhaul President Biden is pushing, but the symbolic significance is huge.
It's a deliberate step intended to recognize America as "a nation of immigrants," according to a summary of the bill released by the new administration. The term "illegal alien," long decried as a dehumanizing slur by immigrant rights advocates, became even more of a lightning rod during the Trump era - with some top federal officials encouraging its use.
"The language change on the first day of this administration, with Kamala Harris the daughter of immigrants, to me it's not just symbolic...it's foundational," says Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant whose organization, Define American, pushes for more accurate portrayals of immigrants. "How we describe people really sticks. It affects how we treat them," he says. "How we talk about immigrants shapes the policies. It frames what are the issues really at stake here. It acknowledges that we're talking about human beings and families."
There has been much discussion about how Biden has redecorated the Oval Office, such as replacing the bust of Winston Churchill with one of Martin Luther King, amongst many other symbolic changes. However, Biden has made one other 'crucial' change. He’s ditched a little red button that Trump used to call forth a White House butler who would dutifully serve him Diet Coke.
Trump, a Diet Coke fanatic, reportedly drank around 12 of the sodas a day during his time in the White House, despite calling Coca-Cola products “garbage” in a 2012 tweet. In 2017, Associated Press reporter Julie Pace wrote that when interviewing the 45th president, Trump had shown her the button and received a “single glass of Diet Coke on a silver tray” upon pressing it. But now, the notorious Coke-summoning fixture is no more.
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