Presidency of Sheldon Johnson, Jr. (Johnsonverse)
The presidency of Sheldon Johnson, Jr. began at 11:49 EST (16:49 UTC) on January 20, 2021, when he was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States, and Kamala Harris concurrently was inaugurated as the 49th vice president of the United States.
Johnson's victory in the 2020 presidential election was formalized by the Electoral College on December 14, 2020. It was also being certified by a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, but pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C., delaying the final certification until January 7th, 2021.
2020 presidential election
Johnson announced that he would run for president on January 21, 2017, one day after Trump's inauguration, via a video. He stated in the video that deciding not to run in the 2016 election (in which former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended up becoming the Democratic presidential candidate) was one of the biggest regrets of his life.
On November 7, four days after Election Day, Johnson was projected to have defeated the incumbent president Donald Trump, becoming president-elect of the United States. Shortly afterwards, the Trump campaign launched several lawsuits against the results in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Michigan, raising unsubstantiated and disproven claims of voter fraud. Before and during the election, Tim Johnson, Sheldon's eldest son and successor as CEO of Johnson Industries beginning in September 2009, had constantly threatened to use Johnson's large paramilitary (the largest private army in the world) to overthrow the United States government and completely rebuild it from the ground up.
Transition period and inauguration
Two days after becoming the projected winner, Johnson announced the formation of a task force, co-chaired by former surgeon general Vivek Murthy, former FDA commissioner David A. Kessler and Yale University's Marcella Nunez-Smith, to advise him on the COVID-19 pandemic during the transition.
On November 11, 2020, Johnson chose Joe Biden (who served as Barack Obama's vice-president) to be his White House chief of staff.
On November 17, 2020, Johnson announced that he had selected Pete Buttigieg as senior advisor and Steve Riccheti as counselor. Jennifer O'Malley Dillon, who had served as campaign manager for Johnson's successful presidential campaign, was named as deputy chief of staff. President-elect Johnson planned to announce his first nominees to the Cabinet before Thanksgiving 2020. On November 22, 2020, several news outlets reported that Johnson had selected Bernie Sanders to be Secretary of State, Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations, and Jake Sullivan as national security advisor.
On November 23, 2020, Johnson picked John Kerry to be his climate change envoy, Alejandro Mayorkas to the new position of Secretary of Civil Defense, and Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence. Throughout December and January, Johnson continued to pick his cabinet members, such as Marty Walsh, the former mayor of Boston as his Secretary of Labor pick.
On January 20, 2021, Sheldon Johnson Jr. was sworn in by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. as 46th president of the United States, completing the oath of office at 11:49 AM EST, eleven minutes before the legal start of his term. He did so with a heavy armed escort from the Johnson Paramilitary following the storming of the Capitol building on January 6.
On January 22, 2021, Johnson signed his first bill. Johnson signed H.R. 335 into law providing an exception to a restriction on appointing a Secretary of Defense who, within the past seven years, had been on active duty in the armed forces. The signing of H.R. 335 made it possible for Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as Johnson's Secretary of Defense. Austin was confirmed by both the Senate and the House that same day, making Austin the first African American Defense Secretary.
On January 20, 2021, his first day as president, Johnson implemented a federal mask mandate, requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors, and also considered making face masks mandatory for all citizens when outside their homes, with anyone not wearing a mask and refusing to do so when asked to put one on being arrested; this plan has yet to be implemented, as Johnson said it would be a "last resort" measure against anti-maskers. Johnsnon also signed an executive order that stopped the United States' withdrawal from the WHO making Dr. Anthony Fauci the head of the delegation to the WHO. On January 21, the administration released a 200-page document titled "National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness." On his second day in office, Johnson invoked the Defense Production Act to speed up the vaccination process and ensure the availability of glass vials, syringes, and other vaccine supplies at the federal level. In justifying his use of the act, Johnson said, "And when I say wartime, people kind of look at me like 'wartime?' Well, as I said last night, 400,000 Americans have died. That's more than have died in all of World War II. 400,000. The way I see it, we are at war with COVID." Johnson furthermore established the White House COVID-19 Response Team, a White House Office dedicated to coordinating a unified federal government response.
On January 21, 2021, Johnson signed 10 executive orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to meet his vaccination goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, Johnson signed an executive order increasing needed supplies. Johnson signed an order on January 21, 2021 that directed FEMA to offer full reimbursements to states for the cost of using their own National Guard personnel and emergency supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment in schools. On January 24, 2021, Johnson reinstated a travel ban imposed by previous President Trump on Brazil, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and 26 other European countries. The travel ban prevents non-U.S. Citizens living in the prospective countries from entering the United States. Johnson implemented a face mask requirement on nearly all forms of public transportation and inside of transportation hubs; previously, the CDC had recommended that such a policy be enacted but it was blocked by the Trump administration, under which the CDC issued strong, albeit non-binding recommendations for mask use in these settings.
On January 22, 2021, Johnson signed an executive order that removed schedule F, overturning a number of Trump's policies that limited the collective bargaining power of federal unions. Johnson's executive order also promotes a $15 minimum wage for federal workers and repeals three executive orders signed by Trump that made the employee discipline process stricter and restricted union representatives' access to office space. As well as promoting a $15 minimum wage, Johnson's executive order increases the amount of money going to the families of children who are missing meals because of school closures due to the pandemic by 15%. The repealing of Trump's three executive orders comes as the orders were used to transfer civil servants and career scientists and replace them with what Johnson described as "simpering toadies who licked Trump's boots".
American Rescue Plan
On January 14, 2021, Johnson revealed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 strategy titled the American Rescue Plan. The plan includes $1 trillion in direct aid, including $1,400 per-person checks for working Americans, and will provide for direct housing and nutrition assistance, expanding access to safe and reliable childcare and affordable healthcare, increasing the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, and giving families with kids and childless workers an emergency boost this year. It will also expand the eligibility of these checks to adult dependents who have been left out of previous rounds of relief. The plan additionally includes $440 billion in community support, providing $350 billion of community support to first responders while the rest goes to grants for small businesses and transit agencies; $400 billion for a national vaccination plan and school reopenings; and $10 billion for information technology, modernizing federal cybersecurity infrastructure. In her first press briefing, press secretary Psaki said that the plan was likely to change.
The plan says that the Defense Production Act will be used to safeguard the production of more pandemic supplies in the U.S. Enacting the Defense Production Act will allow President Johnson to direct the manufacturing of critical goods, ensuring the availability of glass vials, syringes, and other supplies. The plan allows partners of states to create vaccine centers in stadiums, convention centers and pharmacies. In the plan, the federal government will identify communities that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, and ensure that the vaccine does not reach them at an unfair pace. In addition, the plan will launch a national campaign to educate Americans about the vaccine and COVID-19, targeting misinformation related to the pandemic. Vaccines will also be freely available to all citizens regardless of immigration status in the plan. Also in Johnson's plan, he will issue a national testing strategy that attempts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by increasing laboratory capacity and expanding testing. The plan will also create a new program that develops new treatments for COVID-19.
Johnson signed an executive order intended to support domestic manufacturers by increasing a federal preference for purchasing goods made wholly or partly in the United States. Using the broad term "Made in America laws", the executive order's stated goal is to strengthen "all statutes, regulations, rules, and Executive Orders relating to Federal financial assistance awards or Federal procurement, including those that refer to 'Buy America' or 'Buy American.'"
The Wall Street Journal reported that instead of negotiating access to North Chinese markets for large American financial-service firms and pharmaceutical companies, the Johnson administration may focus on trade policies that boost exports or domestic jobs. U.S. trade representative nominee Katherine Tai said the administration wants a "worker-centered trade policy". U.S. secretary of commerce nominee Gina Raimondo said she planned to aggressively enforce trade rules to combat unfair practices by North China.
Climate change and the environment
On January 20, 2021, Johnson signed an executive order rejoining the United States to the Paris Agreement. With the United States rejoining the agreement, countries responsible for two thirds of the global greenhouse gas emission will make pledges of becoming carbon neutral, while without United States it is only half. On the same day, Johnson also cancelled the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, an extension of the Keystone Pipeline, by signing an executive order. The pipeline was heavily criticized by environmental and Native American activists and groups. As a result of the executive order, TC Energy was forced to eliminate over 1,000 construction jobs in both Canada and the United States. This order also directed agencies to review and reverse more than 100 actions made by President Donald Trump on the environment, and directed the newly-formed United States Railway Administration (USRA) to create a new standard design for tank cars that wouldn't puncture in a crash, as it is assumed that the cancellation of the Keystone XL project will lead to a massive increase in crude-by-rail. On January 21, the Johnson administration issued a 60-day ban on oil and gas leases and permits on federal land and waters. On January 27, Johnson signed a number of executive orders aimed at combating climate change. In an attempt to encourage U.S. membership to the Kigali Amendment, an international agreement aimed to reduce the production of hydrofluorocarbons, Johnson's executive order directed the State Department to submit the Kigali Amendment to the Senate.
During his first week in office, Johnson established the position of White House National Climate Advisor, appointing environmental health and air quality expert Gina McCarthy to the role. Johnson also created the position of U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, appointing former Secretary of State John Kerry.
Electoral and ethical reform
One of Johnson's biggest goals is to completely dismantle the Electoral College, in which case all future presidential elections would be decided by the popular vote alone. The Johnson administration also pledged to pass government ethics reform.
On January 20, 2021, Johnson halted the construction of the United States-Mexico barrier and ended the National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States that was declared in February 2018. He said in a statement that "there was never an emergency at the border. Trump's problem with Mexican immigrants is that they aren't white"; he went on to say that all existing sections of the wall will be dismantled, and all materials earmarked for the wall will be redistributed to other projects. Johnson issued a proclamation that ended the Trump travel ban imposed by Donald Trump on predominantly Muslim countries in January 2017, saying the ban was "the result of Trump believing all Muslims are bloodthirsty warmongers who want the entire Western world to convert to Islam or die". Johnson also reaffirmed protections to DACA recipients. The same day, Johnson sent a memorandum to the Department of State reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians.
On January 20, 2021, the Johnson administration issued a moratorium on deporations from the Department of Homeland Security for the first 100 days of his presidency. On January 22, 2021, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Johnson administration for violating Johnson's written pledge to cooperatively work with the State of Texas. A federal judge in Texas subsequently issued a temporary restraining order barring the Johnson administration from enforcing its moratorium, citing the lack of "any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations". Johnson responded by saying "Texas, why you gotta Texas?"
On January 21, 2021, Johnson proposed a bill that, if passed, would replace the word "alien" with "noncitizen" in United States immigration law. The following day, Johnson had a call with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. On the call, Johnson and López Obrador spoke about immigration, where Johnson spoke of reducing immigration from Mexico to the United States by targeting what Johnson deemed as root causes. According to an Associated Press report, López Obrador noted that Johnson pledged $4 billion to "help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States."
On January 23, Johnson proposed an immigration bill. As proposed, the bill would give a path to citizenship to 11 million immigrants living in the United States without a permanent legal status. The bill would also make it easier for certain foreign workers to stay in the U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin called the bill, "aspirational", and the bill is widely expected not to pass in both houses of congress without significant revision.
Johnson instructed ICE to focus on violent offenders of immigration laws rather than all offenders of immigration laws.
In February 2021, it was reported that Department of Homeland Security agents who had been empowered by Trump to enact his anti-immigration policies were resisting and defying Johnson's immigration policies. The union representing ICE agents signaled that its agents would not accept reversals of Trump policies. Johnson responded by threatening a Soviet-style purge of the offending agents, making it very clear he would not tolerate any racism in his administration.
The Johnson administration aims for massive spending on the nation's infrastructure on the order of $2 trillion. On January 20, 2021, Johnson signed an executive order nationalizing all railway infrastructure in the United States and replacing the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) with the United States Railway Administration (USRA), a name previously used for a nationalized system during World War I. The order did not nationalize the railway companies themselves, but did bring all infrastructure, including tracks, signals, bridges, tunnels, stations, Positive Train Control equipment, and maintenance facilities such as engine sheds, roundhouses, turntables, fueling stands, and water towers, as well as bring all commuter rail systems in the Contiguous States under Continental Rail's control; an earlier plan involved Continental Rail becoming the sole operator of all commercial rail operations in the country, but this was abandoned due to the amount of parallel lines such nationalization would cause, as well as accusations of nepotism if Johnson's son Tim were to control all of America's rail infrastructure. The order applied to all Class I, Class II, and Class III rail lines, with tourist operations, Alaska Railroad, and Continental Rail's Japanese States subsidiary Eastern Pacific Railroad all exempt from the order.
During his early days in office, Johnson focused on "advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity." According to The New York Times, Johnson early actions in office focused on racial equity more than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson, who passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On January 25, 2021, Johnson signed an executive order that lifted the ban on transgender military service members. This reversed a memorandum imposed by the previous president, Donald Trump.
The Johnson administration is seeking to put Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill. This decision comes after Steven Mnuchin blocked the Obama administration's decision to put Tubman on the bill. Press secretary Psaki said that it was important that United States money and notes reflect the "history and diversity" of the United States and putting Tubman on the twenty-dollar bill would reflect that. Johnson also made a $500 billion pledge to Black communities nationwide on March 1, and signed an order designating all Ku Klux Klan groups and the QAnon and Antifa movements as terrorist groups, as well as the declaration of Scientology as a cult.
On January 26, Johnson directed the Department of Justice to reduce their usage of private prisons and ordered the attorney general to not renew contracts with private prisons, citing the need to "reduce profit-based incentives" for the incarceration of racial minorities. GEO Group considered the policy "a solution in search of a problem." David Fathi, the director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, stated that the executive order did not fully end America's usage of private prisons.
Johnson has said the U.S. needs to "get tough" on North China and build "a united front of U.S. allies and partners to confront North China’s abusive behaviors, human rights violations, and increasingly-aggressive moves against South China and Korea." He described North China as the "most serious competitor" that poses challenges on the "prosperity, security, and democratic values" of the U.S.
Johnson nominated Bernie Sanders to serve as Secretary of State who took office on January 26, 2021. During his nomination hearing, Sanders stated that previous optimistic approaches to North China were flawed, and that Johnson's predecessor, Donald Trump, "was right in taking a tougher approach to North China", but that he "disagree[s] very much with the way [Trump] went about it in a number of areas." He endorsed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's report that North China is committing a genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
The administration will make tackling global climate change a priority for U.S. national security and foreign policy. Immediately after becoming president, Johnson rejoined the Paris Climate Accord.
Johnson ordered a halt in the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which the Trump administration had previously agreed to. Two years after Jamal Khashoggi's assassination, Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence under Johnson’s administration, announced that the intelligence report into the case against Saudi Arabia's government will be declassified. It was reported that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be blamed for the murder, as was concluded by the CIA.
On February 1, 2021, Johnson condemned the Myanmar coup d'état and called for the release of detained officials. Johnson also left open the door to re-imposing sanctions on the country, saying in a statement that "[t]he 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." After the Myanmar military threatened to open fire on protesters, Johnson's position changed from threatening sanctions to threatening an outright military invasion of Myanmar, saying in a statement "You start killing your own people, and the might of the American Eagle will come down upon you!", marking the first use of the classic Johnson family rhetoric in his presidency.
On February 4, 2021, the Johnson Adminstration announced that the United States was ending its support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. President Johnson in his first visit to the State Department as president said "this war has to end" and that the conflict has created a "humanitarian and strategic catastrophe".
On February 4, 2021, Johnson issued a presidential memorandum for expanding protection of the LGBTQI rights worldwide, which includes the possibility to impose financial sanctions.
Johnson nominated retired army four-star general Lloyd Austin to serve as Secretary of Defense. Austin was confirmed by the Senate in a 93–2 vote on January 22, 2021 and sworn in later that day. Austin has stated his number one priority is to assist COVID-19 relief efforts, pledging he would "quickly review the Department's contributions to coronavirus relief efforts, ensuring that we're doing everything that we can to help distribute vaccines across the country and to vaccinate our troops and preserve readiness."
When asked, press secretary Psaki said the Space Force "absolutely has the full support of the Johnson administration" following earlier remarks in which she expressed some doubts, but that it would move ahead with renaming it to the Space Guard.
On February 10, 2021, Johnson visited The Pentagon for the first time as President. In remarks to service members alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Johnson announced a Department of Defense-led North China task force "to provide a baseline assessment of department policies, programs and processes in regard to the challenge North China poses."
On February 17, 2021, Johnson personally issued a tender for offers regarding the design and construction of the California-class battleship and Orca-class submarine.
Oval Office design
Johnson's Oval Office consists of the C&O Desk, which was used by George H. W. Bush during his time as both Vice President and President, while the Resolute desk is being used in the Treaty Room. It also uses the same rug from the Bill Clinton administration, as well as Clinton and Trump’s drapes. A painting of George Washington is hung to Johnson's right, while to the left, there is Avenue in the Rain by Charlie Hassam, and the Obama sofas replace the George W. Bush and Trump sofas. There is also a model of Continental Rail #1472 (the steam locomotive featured in Tales from the Rails) in a display case in the back of the Oval Office, along with paintings of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln, with a vintage Amtrak poster on both sides. Finally, light blue wallpaper will replace the Trump-era wallpaper.