In our series looking at Joe Biden's first month in charge, we look at some of the moves made by the administration as February began.

Our first in this series of three articles analysed some of the early decisions made by the Biden administration as well as the executive orders passed. 

Below we chart the actions of the president against Covid, comments made regarding Trump's impeachment trial beginning, and America entering the international stage

Day 13 - February 1 

Joe Biden threatened sanctions on Myanmar following a coup in the country, calling for a concerted international response to press them to relinquish power. In a statement he said: “The international community should come together in one voice to press the Burmese military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained.” 

“The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action."

Biden warned the US was “taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour.”

Vice President Kamala Harris also tweeted to mark the start of Black History Month, writing: "As Black History Month begins today, we remember and honor those who have come before, and we work to build a brighter future for all who follow in their steps. Our ongoing charge is to build a more just and inclusive America."

Day 14 - February 2

The Biden White House announced that the administration would ship almost 1 million doses of the Covid vaccine to pharmacies across the US in a bid to increase vaccine availability as part of the plan to ramp up the number of vaccines.

Biden also reiterated calls to raise the minimum wage in America to $15 an hour. 

Day 16 - February 4

President Joe Biden announced an end to US support for offensive operations in Yemen, where a war lasting six years has resulted in the death of more than 110,000 people. 

Mr Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, announced the policy change to reporters, as he outlined the ways in which the new administration was “reasserting our values.”

The war in Yemen, between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebel movement, began in 2014 when Saudi Arabia and eight other Arab states started conducting air strikes against the Houthis.

The US policy change was hailed by many as “fantastic news”.

US Senator Bernie Sanders called the announcement a “tribute to the work of so many activists over the years.”


READ MORE: Yemen war: Biden 'to end support' for offensive operations as SNP calls for UK to follow suit

Mr Biden told diplomats in his first visit to the State Department as leader: “The war has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. This war has to end.”

The Yemen reversal was one of a series of changes identified by President Biden that he said would be part of a course correction for US foreign policy.

On February 4th, another executive order was signed to increase refugee admissions in the US.

Day 17 February 5

The Senate passed a budget resolution approving President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package but rejected the minimum wage package proposed. The Senate adopted the budget measure by a vote of 51 to 50 with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. 

Mr Biden later met leading House Democrats to push for approval of the relief plan, telling them: “We can’t do too much here, we can do too little.

“Real, live people are hurting. And we can fix it, and the irony of all ironies is when we help them, we are also helping our competitive capacity, through the remainder of this decade.”

Day 18 - February 6

Joe Biden sparked some significant headlines when he said Donald Trump should not be allowed to receive classified intelligence briefings, a courtesy that has historically been granted to outgoing presidents.

READ MORE: Joe Biden calls for Donald Trump to be excluded from receiving classified intelligence briefings

Asked in an interview with CBS News what he feared if Trump continued to receive the briefings, Biden said he did not want to “speculate out loud” but made clear he did not want Trump to continue receiving them.

“I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings,” Biden said. “What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the issue of granting Trump intelligence briefings was “something that is under review”.

Some Democratic politicians and even some former Trump administration officials had questioned the wisdom of allowing Trump to continue to be briefed.

Day 19 - February 7

On Super Bowl Sunday, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden delivered a video message thanking key workers and offered a moment of silence. 

President Biden also insisted he would not lift economic sanctions against Iran until it complied with the terms agreed under a 2015 nuclear deal, nodding when asked if they had to stop enriching uranium first. 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had said: "If they want Iran to return to its commitments... the United States must entirely lift the sanctions, in practice and not on paper.“We will then verify if in fact the sanctions were lifted correctly," he continued, adding that "This is the definitive and irreversible policy of the Islamic Republic, and all of the country’s officials are unanimous on this, and no one will deviate from it,

READ MORE: Struan Stevenson: Joe Biden must take a tough stance to deal with Iran

HeraldScotland:  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

In the interview, Biden also discussed relationships with China stating that there was no reason for Washington to be drawn into direct conflict with Beijing, but that both sides would engage in what he called "extreme competition" on the global economic stage.

Day 20 February 8

In a press conference, the White House reiterated Joe Biden’s commitment to raising the minimum wage, with Jen Psaki saying: “The  President remains committed to raising the minimum wage. It’s something he talked about on the campaign trail, something he firmly believes in as a person and as a leader, but there hasn’t been a determination made at this point in time.”

Also on February 8th, President Joe Biden virtually toured the State Farm Stadium vaccination site in Glendale, Arizona Monday, thanking front-line workers distributing the Covid vaccine.

At the state's request, the administration deployed FEMA staff and members of the National Guard to support operations and help get people vaccinated.

The Biden administration also announced that it will re-engage with the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), three years after former president Donald Trump withdrew from the body.

US officials said Secretary of State Antony Blinken would announce that Washington will return to the Geneva-based body as an observer with an eye toward seeking election as a full member.

The re-engagement came after Donald Trump pulled out of the world body’s main human rights agency in 2018 due to its disproportionate focus on Israel, which has received by far the largest number of critical council resolutions against any country, as well as the number of authoritarian countries among its members.

In addition to the council’s persistent focus on Israel, the Trump administration took issue with the body’s membership, which currently includes China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia and Venezuela, all of which have been accused of human rights abuses.

On the same day, the Senate voted to continue on the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

The defence lost the vote seeking to halt the trial on constitutional grounds, 56 to 44, leaving Trump fuming over his lawyers' performance and allies questioning the overall defence strategy.  

Missed Part 1? You can read it here.

Part 3 of the series will be online tomorrow.