SEATTLE - President Joe Biden on Wednesday formally revoked a series of presidential orders and memorandum signed by Donald Trump, including one that sought to cut funding from several cities the 45th president deemed "anarchist" havens and another mandating that federal buildings should be designed in a classical aesthetic.
Since taking office last month, Biden has revoked dozens of Trump orders and issued dozens more of his own as he’s sought to target foundational aspects of Trump’s legacy and promote aspect of his own agenda without going through Congress.
"Fortunately, Seattle no longer has to face the insanity of a President who governs by Twitter or political threats. President Trump’s baseless lawsuits targeted our city for standing up for immigrants, civil rights, and democracy as he further divided our country with hate," said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. "Instead of attempting to withhold all federal funding from Seattle like the previous administration, President Biden has proposed more support for cities to help our residents and small businesses at this unprecedented time."
"The Biden Administration’s approach to righting the wrong-headed action of the prior administration is the first of many actions we can expect from this President, which is intended to categorically delegitimizing today’s civil rights movement for Black lives to advance," said Council President M. Lorena González. "I remain committed to transformational change for the nearly 700,000 people I represent in an effort to ensure all our residents are able to access federal funding, during a COVID-19 recession, for much needed transit, affordable housing, education and human services."
The latest slate of revocations targeted a grab-bag of issues, including a few that Trump signed in his last months in office.
Trump issued a memorandum in September that sought to identify municipal governments that permit "anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities." The memorandum followed riots during anti-police and anti-racism protests over George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. The Justice Department identified New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funding slashed.
Those cities in turn filed a lawsuit to invalidate the designation and fight off the Trump administration’s efforts to withhold federal dollars.
Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes welcomed the Biden revocation, saying he was "glad to have this nonsense cleared from the decks."
Trump in his "Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture" intoned that America’s forefathers "wanted public buildings to inspire the American people and encourage civic virtue." The memorandum added that architects should look to "America’s beloved landmark buildings" such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Department of the Treasury and the Lincoln Memorial for inspiration.
Another order halted was one Trump issued in the final days of his presidency dubbed the "Ensuring Democratic Accountability in Agency Rulemaking." It called for limiting the ability of federal agency employees in making regulatory decisions.
Biden also revoked a 2018 order that called for agency heads across the government to review welfare programs — such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing aid — and strengthening work requirements for certain recipients.
Associated Press writer Gene Johnson in Seattle contributed to this report.