President Joe Biden revoked a bevy of his predecessor’s executive orders on Friday, including one that directed the construction of a sculpture garden of “American Heroes” and another one that sought to protect Confederate-era monuments.
The rollback blitz was announced by the White House without much fanfare in a statement saying Biden had used the “authority vested” in him to scrap former President Donald Trump’s orders, several of which were issued in the lame-duck period after the 2020 election.
The first order Biden rescinded was one Trump signed in May 2020 instructing federal agencies to find ways to peel back Section 230, a portion of internet law providing legal protections for social media companies. Trump issued the directive in retaliation against Twitter and Facebook after they started censoring some of his posts about the forthcoming presidential election.
Moving on, Biden erased a Trump order from June 2020 that instructed the Justice Department to prioritize the prosecution of defendants accused of vandalizing monuments. That order came in response to protesters tearing down statues and monuments of Confederate generals and other figures from American history as part of a wave of racial justice demonstrations in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Next, Biden axed the Trump order — issued on Jan. 18 — that would have required the federal government to build a garden featuring sculptures of a dizzying 244 figures from history that the former president considered “American Heroes.”
The envisioned garden was a pet project of Trump’s that he first announced in July 2020, and then updated two days before leaving office.
Trump’s proposed “Heroes” included Americans from all walks of life, from Kobe Bryant and Johnny Cash to Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Carnegie. Curiously, Woody Guthrie — the folk music legend who had an infamous public quarrel with Trump’s dad — also made the cut.
The other three executive orders Biden squashed related to Trump’s controversial bid to limit U.S. foreign aid for certain countries; his push to exclude illegal immigrants who couldn’t prove they had health insurance, and an effort to redefine certain categories of white-collar crimes to prevent “overcriminalization.”
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