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President Biden launched his administration with nearly 50 executive actions, variously described in the media as “a barrage,” “a blitz” and “a burst.”

If the public was struck by the sheer number of orders, however, the team that spent more than six months planning them struggled with the opposite problem: Resisting the temptation to craft even more orders and reverse larger chunks of former president Donald Trump’s agenda.

Biden’s staff even had a motto: Don’t try to boil the ocean. “You can’t try to do all of the things,” explained Cecilia Muñoz, a senior transition official who oversaw the domestic executive actions. “A transition’s job isn’t to do everything. That’s the administration’s job.”

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