Biden Touts America’s ‘Possibilities’ In State Of The Union Address
US President Joe Biden arrives to deliver the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
(Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden touted his administration’s record, called for bipartisanship, and appeared to kick off his re-election campaign in his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, and first to a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

In a 74-minute address punctuated by occasional GOP jeers, Biden claimed the economy is strengthening, vowed to protect social security, and renewed his call for the rich to “pay their fair share” in taxes before concluding the nation is in good shape.

“Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the State of the Union is strong,” Biden declared, as Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stood behind him.

One of the first things Biden did during his address was to recognize the new Congress and give McCarthy a handshake, a gesture that received loud applause. “Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to ruin your reputation, but I look forward to working with you,” Biden quipped.

McCarthy released a video on Twitter signaling that he would not repeat the “theatrics” that his predecessor, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), put on display when she ripped up a paper copy of former President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in 2020. However there were multiple outbursts by members of his caucus as Biden spoke.

Biden, 80, slurred and stumbled over some words and phrases in the speech, which was long by State of the Union standards, his voice rising oddly at various times. The president talked tough about China, although he only indirectly alluded to the suspected spy balloon that flew over the United States last week, saying, “If China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did,” he said. The U.S. military shot down the balloon over the weekend, but only after it reached the Atlantic Ocean.

“Name me a world leader who’d change places with Xi Jinping! Name me one!” Biden proclaimed, referring to China’s leader, in a puzzling moment apparently aimed at touting what has been widely viewed as a tepid response.

Acknowledging another challenge ahead, the president urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling. Biden said his administration “cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion — the largest deficit reduction in American history.” After blaming Trump’s administration for a massive spike in the national debt, Biden called on Congress to prevent an economic disaster. “Let’s commit here tonight that the full faith and credit of the United States of America will never, ever be questioned,” he said.

Much of the remarks focused on the economy and touting accomplishments during Biden’s first two years as president. Biden pushed for a recommitment to “Buy American.” He announced “new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.”

Investments in the country’s future will be covered by wealthy people and big corporations starting to “pay their fair share,” Biden declared. The president said the tax system is “not fair.” He also proposed quadrupling the tax on corporate stock buybacks as well as a billionaire minimum tax.

Biden issued a warning to Republicans who are talking about repealing the Inflation Reduction Act. “Make no mistake, if you try anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it,” he added to cheers from Democrats.

When Biden said some Republicans want an end to Medicare and Social Security, members booed. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) stood and yelled, “Liar!”

At another point in the speech, when Biden decried the opioid crisis and tragic deaths caused by fentanyl, someone in the audience shouted, “It’s your fault!” It was an apparent reference to Biden’s lax border policies that have allowed drugs from Mexico to flood U.S. cities.

A number of guests sat with the president’s wife, first lady Jill Biden, during the State of the Union address. Among them were Ukraine Ambassador Oksana Markarova and Holocaust survivor Ruth Cohen. At various points during his speech, Biden recognized the special guests, including RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man allegedly beaten to death by police in Memphis, Tennessee. He gave a shout-out to Brandon Tsay, the man caught on camera disarming the suspected gunman in the deadly Monterey Park, California, shooting.

Also in attendance was Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of Nancy Pelosi, who survived a break-in attack at their San Francisco home in late October. Biden tied that harrowing incident with efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election as well as the events of January 6, 2021.

Biden said the alleged assailant, David DePape, was “unhinged by the Big Lie” and “unleashed political violence in the home of the then-speaker of the House of Representatives while “using the very same language that insurrectionists used as they stalked these halls chanted on January 6. “Here tonight in this chamber is the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack, but is as tough and strong and as resilient as they get,” Biden added.

Earlier in his speech, Biden referred to the breach of the U.S. Capitol two years ago as democracy’s “greatest threat since the Civil War. And today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.”

An end to the pandemic also earned a place in the address. As the federal government is expected to let the coronavirus public health emergency expire in May, Biden said COVID “no longer controls our lives.”

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who is reportedly planning to step down for a top hockey union job, was the “designated survivor” among Biden’s Cabinet not in attendance.

Biden’s job approval rating has hovered around the low-to-mid 40s since the beginning of the year. While Biden is expected to tout a resilient economy, four in 10 Americans say they are worse off financially since he took office, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found.

The president has said he intends to run for re-election in 2024, and reports indicate a formal announcement could happen around the time of the State of the Union address. Trump, who has already entered the race with his third campaign for the White House, said he will be doing a “live and full ‘Play by Play’ analysis” of Biden’s address on Truth Social.

After the State of the Union address, the White House says Biden will travel to Wisconsin and Florida later this week “to showcase how the President’s plan is creating jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, lowering costs for families, investing in our future, and delivering for families too often left behind.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Biden Touts America’s ‘Possibilities’ In State Of The Union Address