Joe Biden has issued a stern warning to his new White House staff.
On Wednesday, hours after he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, Biden conducted a videoconference ceremony with his incoming administration officials who do not require Senate confirmation.
“We have such an awful lot to do, but I know you. I know your heart, your dedication, your commitment to this nation. And I know you can do it. And we’re going do it — by leading with one core America value: Humility. And trust, collegiality, diversity, competency, and family,” he told his staff.
However, Biden also told his new administration that he will not tolerate disrespect or misconduct between colleagues.
“But I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me, and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. On the spot,” he said. “No if, ands, or buts.”
He continued, “Everybody, everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity. That’s been missing in a big way the last four years.”
The new commander-in-chief added that his administration would be judged by how well it “restores the integrity and competency in this government.”
Back in November, after numerous outlets declared him to be the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Biden’s 2014 memo to his vice presidential staffers about work-life balance resurfaced.
“I would like to take a moment and make something clear to everyone. I do not expect nor do I want any of you to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work,” he wrote in a letter, dated Nov. 7, 2014.
“Family obligations include but are not limited to family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, any religious ceremonies such as first communions and bar mitzvahs, graduations, and times of need such as illness or loss in the family. This is very important to me.”
On his first day in office, Biden signed a number of executive orders, including one requiring masks and social distancing on federal property, one that provides support to underserved communities, and another one ending Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from countries with large Muslim populations.