For the past four years Donald Trump has made a big show of using a big black Sharpie to scrawl his signature on executive orders banning Muslims from traveling to the United States, gutting environmental regulations, imposing sanctions on various countries and other policy agenda items.
President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday made it clear that he, too, has a pen and intends to use it beginning Jan. 20. During a virtual meeting with civil rights leaders Biden told the group, “Where I have executive authority, I will use it to undo every single damn thing this guy’s done by executive authority.” Biden did not identify any specific Trump orders that he plans to reverse. His comment came to light in audio of the meeting leaked to The Intercept.
He did, however, tell the group that he does not intend to overreach and take actions that could be questionable. “There’s some things that I’m going to be able to do by executive order. I’m not going to hesitate to do it, but what I’m not going to do is … violate the Constitution.”
In that meeting Biden also told the group that Republicans’ success in down ballot races in the November election is at least partly because of their success in defining Democrats as the party in favor of defunding the police. “That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we’re talking about defunding the police. We’re not. We’re talking about holding them accountable,” he said.
Biden’s transition team did not dispute the authenticity of audio and issued a statement that reads in part: “President-elect Biden is the same person behind closed doors that he is public; honest, direct and realistic about the challenges facing our nation the day he is sworn in.”