WASHINGTON: The top aide of Joe Biden said on Saturday the new president would sign about a dozen executive orders on his first day in office, while a national surveillance campaign was staged ahead of the inauguration by police expecting abuse from Trump supporters.
Authorities in Washington, where the inaugu-ration will take place on Wednesday, said they detained a man with a loaded handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition at a security checkpoint, highlighting the tension that resembles a war zone in the US capital.
The man said, though, that it was “an honest error,” and that he was a private security guard who got confused on his way to work near the Capitol.
In a memo to new White House senior employees, incoming Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said that the executive orders would fix the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and systemic inequality in America.
Klain said in the memo, “All of these crises demand urgent action.”
“President-elect Biden will take decisive action in his first ten days in office to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible damage, and restore America’s place in the world,” Klain continued.
Biden’s plate overflows with acute problems when he inherits the White House from Donald Trump.
As the coronavirus spreads out of reach, the US is quickly reaching 400,000 deaths from the Covid-19 outbreak and logging well over a million new cases a week.
With 10 million fewer jobs available relative to the onset of the pandemic, the economy is ailing. And millions of Trump-backed Americans fail to accept Biden as the rightful president.
This week, Biden announced plans to raise $1.9 trillion to stimulate the economy through new stimulus payments and other assistance, and plans for a blitz to speed up the stumbling Covid vaccine implementation initiative in America.
As previously promised, Biden would sign orders on Inauguration Day, including those for the US to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and reverse Trump’s ban on the entry of citizens from some Muslim majority countries, Klain added.
“President-elect Biden will take action—not only to reverse the Trump administration’s most serious damage—but also to begin to move our country forward,” Klain said. Washington, meanwhile, was in a state of high alert after a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump invaded the Capitol on January 6. The attack left five people, including a police officer, dead.
Security authorities have warned that, within the next week, armed pro-Trump extremists, likely bearing bombs, are posing a danger to both Washington and state capitals.
In Washington, thousands of National Guard forces have been mobilised and intersections with concrete walls have been sealed off downtown.
Police detained a Virginia man on Friday night at a security checkpoint where he attempted to use a “unauthorised” credential to enter the prohibited area where Biden was to be inaugurated.
One saw decals on the back of Wesley Beeler’s pick-up truck that said “Assault Life,” with a photo of a rifle, as police checked the credential, and another with the message: “If they come for your guns, first give them your bullets,” according to a document filed in Washington, DC Superior Court.
Beeler told police under interrogation that he had a Glock handgun in the car. The court record said a search found a loaded handgun, more than 500 rounds of bullets, shotgun shells and a magazine for the rifle.