In our final of three articles looking at the first 30 days of Biden's presidency, we look at some of the key moments throughout February.

Biden was successful in passing a budget resolution which saw Vice President Kamala Harris cast a crucial tie-breaking vote as well as the first departure from the new administration.

You can read part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE

Day 21 February 9

On Day 21 of his presidency, Biden faced calls from a coalition of leading US civil and human rights groups to commute the sentences of all 49 federal death row inmates and reinstate a moratorium on executions carried out by the US government.

On the same day, the Senate launched Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial, with lawyers for the former president insisting he is not guilty of inciting mob violence at the Capitol to overturn the election.

Prosecutors, however, said he must be convicted of the "most grievous constitutional crime" even though he is gone from the White House.

Rioters stormed the building trying to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory, in an insurrection in which five people lost their lives.

Day 23 - February 11

President Joe Biden officially ended the "national emergency" that Donald Trump declared in order to take money from the Pentagon to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

The White House released a letter from President Biden to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi notifying Congress that he had rescinded his predecessor's February 2019 proclamation.

While significant, it was also a mere formality since President Biden had ordered a halt to border wall construction shortly after he took office.

HeraldScotland: Part of the US Border WallPart of the US Border Wall

In his letter, the president said Mr Trump's declaration of a national emergency had been "unwarranted" and that he had directed that "no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall".

Despite the US building border walls for decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations, Biden also ordered a review of all money spent on the project so far.

Mr Trump made the effort a centrepiece of his first presidential campaign, vowing to build a wall across the entire border and have Mexico pay for it taking roughly six billion dollars from military funds under the national emergency he declared after Congress refused his demands for wall funding, leading to the longest government shutdown in history.

By the end of the Trump administration, the US had completed more than 450 miles of new wall construction along the 2,000-mile border. Much of the construction was in areas where there had already been some form of barrier.

HeraldScotland: One of the final acts of the Trump presidency was to visit the Border Wall. One of the final acts of the Trump presidency was to visit the Border Wall.

It was also announced on February 11th that President Biden had created a Pentagon task force to help craft a comprehensive China policy.  

On the taskforce Biden said: “It will require a whole-of-government efforts, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and strong alliances and partners.

 “That is how we will meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future.”

Day 24 - February 12

The White House announced that President Joe Biden announced he would seek to close the prison on the US base at Guantanamo Bay following a review process, resuming a project begun under the Obama administration.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it was the "intention" of the Biden administration to close the detention facility, something President Barack Obama pledged to do within a year of taking office in January 2009, but something he never achieved. 

Ms Psaki gave no timeline, telling reporters that the formal review would be "robust" and would require the participation of officials from the Department of Defence, the Justice Department and other agencies who have not yet been appointed under the new administration.

"There are many players from different agencies who need to be part of this policy discussion about the steps forward," she said.

The announcement of the closure plan, first reported by Reuters, was not unexpected with President Biden saying as a candidate he supported closing the detention centre.

Although President Obama ran into intense domestic political opposition when he attempted to close the detention centre, the low numbers at the prison, a mere 40 prisoners, could give President Biden more leeway.

HeraldScotland: Photo credit: AP Photo/Charles DharapakPhoto credit: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

READ MORE: Obama administration releases Guantanamo Bay detainees to United Arab Emirates

The US opened the detention centre in January 2002 to hold people suspected of ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The 40 remaining prisoners at Guantanamo include five who were previously cleared for release through an intensive review process created under Mr Obama as part of the effort to close the detention centre and transfer the remaining prisoners to US facilities.

At its peak in 2003, the detention centre at the Navy base on the south-east tip of Cuba held nearly 680 prisoners. 

Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo was put on a week long suspension without pay after a report surfaced in Vanity Fair outlining his sexist threats against a female Politico journalist to try to suppress a story about his relationship, telling her "I will destroy you".

HeraldScotland: White House aide TJ DuckloWhite House aide TJ Ducklo

Day 25 - February 13

US president Joe Biden urged Americans to defend democracy following the acquittal of Donald Trump at his second impeachment trial, saying: “This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile.”

Biden said the substance of the charge against Trump was not in dispute, and noted the seven Republicans who voted guilty.

READ MORE: Donald Trump acquitted as Senate falls short of majority to convict former president

He said in a statement: “Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate minority leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol,” 

He added: “This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant … Each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”


Following a number of negative headlines for the administration, the White Houses’ deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo resigned a day after being suspended for issuing a sexist and profane threat to a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter.

In a statement on Saturday, Mr Ducklo said he was "devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden".

"No words can express my regret, my embarrassment and my disgust for my behaviour," he said.

"I used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful and unacceptable."

It marked the first departure from the new administration, less than a month into President Joe Biden's tenure, and it came as the White House was facing criticism for not living up to standards set by Mr Biden himself in their decision to retain Mr Ducklo.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki faced a flurry of questions about the controversy with reporters highlighting Mr Biden's comments made earlier into his tenure that "if you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot"

Many US media outlets questioned the decision to merely suspend Mr Ducklo for a week before he resigned. Ms Psaki addressing the media following the criticism said that Mr Ducklo's conduct "doesn't meet our standards, it doesn't meet the president's standard, and it was important that we took a step to make that clear".

Day 26 - February 14

On the 3rd anniversary of the Parkland shooting in Florida, Joe Biden called for “common-sense gun law reforms” 

In a statement, released on February 14th he said “In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever,”  

“This administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”

17 people died lost three years ago in the Parkland school shooting massacre on February 14, 2018.


Biden also marked Valentine's Day with a tweet for First Lady Jill Biden.

Day 27 - February 15

On Day 27 of Biden’s presidency, it was announced that the president would speak at a virtual meeting of the world's major economies later that week to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and global vaccination distribution.

Mr Biden used the speech to address the need for a global response to the pandemic and to recommit the US to multi-lateral engagement.

During his appearance at the G7 meeting, Biden emphasised the need for global coordination on vaccine production, distribution and supplies, as well as global efforts to prepare for and protect against future pandemics.

He also discussed the need for industrialised nations to ensure their economic recovery " is inclusive and benefits all workers, including women and members of historically disadvantaged groups", the White House said in a statement.

The US also pledged to join the Covax initiative, which is aimed at producing and distributing vaccines to developing countries.

Mr Biden also discussed the need to update global rules "to tackle economic challenges such as those posed by China", the White House said. Mr Biden has pushed for the US and its allies to negotiate a new trade pact to counter China's influence in the region.

The G7 event marked Mr Biden's first major multilateral engagement as president.

It was also announced that Mr Biden would participate in a "special edition" of the Munich Security Conference, a gathering of global leaders focused on defence.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced that Congress will establish an independent commission to look into the deadly insurrection that took place at the US Capitol.

HeraldScotland: Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi

Ms Pelosi said the commission would "investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, the domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex ... and relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power".

The speaker said, in a letter to Democratic colleagues, that the House will also put forth supplemental spending to boost security at the Capitol.

Investigations into the incident were already planned, with Senate hearings scheduled later this month in the Senate Rules Committee.

In her letter, Ms Pelosi said, "It is clear from his findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened." adding "As we prepare for the Commission, it is also clear from General Honore's interim reporting that we must put forth a supplemental appropriation to provide for the safety of Members and the security of the Capitol."

Day 28 - February 16

It was announced President Biden was extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden had extended foreclosure bans to March 31 on his first day in office, but with Census Bureau figures showing 12% of Americans being behind on payments, a decision to extend it was announced. 

In a statement, the White House said more than 10 million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments and Biden's actions are to help keep people in their homes amid “a housing affordability crisis” triggered by the pandemic.  

On February 16 there were a few notable headlines across the media in the States with news that Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudy Guiliani faced being sued by the NAACP over the Capitol riots. Joe Biden travelled to Wisconsin to talk up his $1.9 trillion (£1.36 trillion) Covid-19 rescue package. 

Although Biden had already travelled to his home state of Delaware and to Camp David since taking office the trip to Milwaukee marked his first trip on official business since his inauguration.

At the town hall meeting, Biden said he expected that vaccines would be available to all Americans by the end of July adding: “By next Christmas, I think we’ll be in a very different circumstance, God willing than we are today. I think a year from now ... there will be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, having to wear masks.”

At the Town Hall meeting he also spoke out against white supremacist groups and far-right extremists branding them aa “bane on our existence” 

The president also reiterated his plans to raise the minimum wage, pushed for citizenship for around 11m undocumented Americans, expanded his student loan debt proposal and declined to comment on the Trump impeachment saying: “For four years, all that’s been in the news is Trump ... I’m tired of talking about Trump.”


On the same day, Former US president Donald Trump launched a personal attack on senior Republican Mitch McConnell, calling him a "dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack".

The statement said Mr Trump was the one who incited the deadly attack on the US Capitol last month.

In a statement released by Mr Trump's political action committee, he said: "The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm."

Day 29 - February 17

The Biden Administration faced issues with winter weather leaving millions without electricity in record-breaking cold. 

Utilities from Minnesota to Texas and Mississippi implemented rolling blackouts to ease the burden on power grids straining to meet extreme demand for heat and electricity as record low temperatures were reported in city after city.

Millions of people were left without power early in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The latest storm front was predicted to bring snow and ice to east Texas, with President Joe Biden's administration saying delays in vaccine shipments and deliveries were likely.

Seven million people in the Texas were been told to boil tap water before consuming it after a deadly winter storm caused power blackouts at treatment facilities.

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed those who had lost power during a live interview on NBC's Today programme.

"I know they can't see us right now because they're without electricity, but the president and I are thinking of them and really hope that we can do everything that is possible through the signing of the emergency orders to get federal relief to support them."

Joe Biden had his first official phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu. He told White House pool reporters he had a “good conversation” with Netanyahu.

Day 30 - February 18

Joe Biden's administration unveiled a major immigration overhaul that would offer a pathway to citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status. The bill will immediately provide green cards to farm workers, those with temporary protected status and young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children.