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Joe Biden swears-in presidential appointees in virtual ceremony at White House

News Agencies | Updated on: 21 January 2021, 8:22 IST

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday swore-in federal appointees and staff in a virtual ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House.

"We are one team. We have an obligation, but we also have a great privilege. Very few times does an individual get to do something that can fundamentally positively impact other people's lives, not only here but around the world," CNN quoted Biden as saying to appointees.

"People do not work for us, we work for the people. I work for the people. They pay my salary. They pay your salary. They put their faith in you. I put my faith in you. And so we have an obligation," he said.

He warned new staff members, stating that he would terminate them if he found them trashing one another.

Making explicit he wanted to break with the toxic environment that pervaded the West Wing during the previous administration, Biden said he wanted his staff governed by collegiality and respect.

"If you are ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot," Biden said during the ceremony.

Biden on Wednesday signed first executive actions, hours after he was sworn-in as 46th commander-in-chief.

The executive actions are among 17 items that Biden is signing on Wednesday, CNN reported.

"This is going to be the first of many engagements we are going to have in here," Biden told reporters, appearing for the first time in the Oval Office. "I thought with the state of the nation today there's no time to waste. Get to work immediately," he said.

Biden signed an order requiring masks on federal property, one meant to ensure racial equality and another rejoining the Paris climate accord. He said they would be the first of many during his first days in office.


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First published: 21 January 2021, 8:22 IST