Biden Works to Erase Trump’s Legacy


Presidential candidates use the polarization of American politics to gain favor from either side. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Since his inauguration in January, President Joe Biden and his administration have struck the public with nearly 50 executive orders, all of which serve to reverse much of the Trump administration’s agenda. With plans to create new legislation, laws and more executive actions, Biden’s presidency already illustrates the severe polarization present in the American political system. The erasure of Trump’s legacy, while necessary in many aspects, represents the cyclical nature of American politics. 

These executive orders cover a variety of issues, from mandating mask usage on all federal grounds to the rejoining of the Paris Climate Accord. While many Americans were stunned by the amount of changes taking place, Biden assured the public that these orders are the first of many stepping stones toward a changed America.

“I think some of the things we’re going to be doing are going to be bold and vital,” Biden told reporters. “And there’s no time to start like today.”

These rushed executive actions are the products of frustration and anger expressed not only by Democrats within the House, but also by everyday American citizens who felt powerless against decisions made by the Trump administration. In addition to this pressure, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has weighed heavily on the personal and economic lives of millions, requires careful attention. 

In contrast to Trump, who avoided implementing precautions to lessen the severity of the pandemic, Biden has treated this issue with urgency. One of his orders includes a coronavirus relief package, which would work to extend unemployment benefits, administer $1,400 stimulus checks and set aside billions for other broad economic needs. While these changes would improve the lives of millions, Biden’s administration already faces conflicts within Congress.

Republican opposition in Congress has slowed Biden’s coronavirus legislation significantly. Because Republicans make up the majority within the chambers, Democrats must go directly to lawmakers to sway their opinions and move forward with providing relief for those in need.  

In addition to his pandemic-related projects, Biden has taken direct action to undo Trump’s detrimental orders in regards to climate change. During his presidency, Trump facilitated the Keystone XL Pipeline order as well many other projects that stunted progress in reversing climate change. Some of these actions included the rolling back of Obama-era coal and methane rules, the proposal of a rollback on the Endangered Species Act and proposed cuts to climate and clean-energy programs. Recently, Biden signed an order to terminate the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have provided fossil fuels to corporations. He also rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. 

Changes like these are vital. Following one of the most tumultuous and divisive presidencies America has ever experienced, changes must be made immediately to remedy the chaos. Biden has painted himself as the calm and sturdy leader that America needs to heal. He can’t seem to keep everyone happy, though.

Biden has attempted to balance calls from Democrats to take further executive action with complaints from Republicans who say he is changing too much, yet he still faces vehement opposition from many. Conservatives complain that he is not providing “unity like he promised,” but is instead violating his own beliefs regarding bipartisanship. 

Upon comparing recent presidencies, it is clear that each president’s administrations serve to reverse the changes made by those before them. Just as Trump took office in 2016 to erase the legacy of Obama’s career, Biden will try to erase the impacts of Trump’s political actions. Presidential candidates use the polarization of American politics to gain favor from either side. It is a cyclical process — where one president falters, the next will prosper. While Biden’s attempts to erase Trump’s legacy are a positive for many Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, we must acknowledge the lack of productivity within our government. 

With every election cycle, we listen to the promises of our candidates, hopeful that our wants and needs will be fulfilled by our government. Each time we are faced with the true reality: not much will change, regardless of party — and even if it does, what happens when another arrives to undo all of the work previously done?

President Biden’s record number of executive orders shows voters that he is working to keep his promises of creating a new and improved America. Action can be taken on this level, but the necessary changes that must be made will never happen unless the cycle of erasure in American politics is broken. 

Madeline Byrne, FCRH ’23, is a psychology major from Freehold, N.J.