Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer misjudged an applause line during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, accidentally standing up to a chorus of “boos.”
Biden was talking about the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the average family’s finances — and the number of American families who were still living paycheck to paycheck even after so many had been able to return to their places of work.
But just before he touted his own COVID-relief legislation — the American Rescue Plan, which passed in the early months of his presidency — he took a moment to slam the tax cuts passed by former President Donald Trump. Schumer appeared to misjudge the timing, jumping to his feet while the audience was still booing Trump’s tax cuts. He quickly sat down again, only to jump back to his feet when Biden arrived at the applause line.
Here's the Sen. Schumer clip. pic.twitter.com/NKfgIRUx7s
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“We meet tonight in an America that has lived through two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced. The pandemic has been punishing. And so many families are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to keep up with the rising costs of food, gas, housing, and so much more,” Biden began, saying that he understood what people were going through because he had grown up in a family where rising costs were keenly felt.
“That’s one of the first things I did as President, was fight to pass the American Rescue Plan, because people were hurting. We needed to act, and we did,” Biden continued. “Few pieces of legislation have done more at a critical moment in our history to lift us out of a crisis. It fueled our efforts to vaccinate the nation and combat COVID-19. Delivered immediate economic relief to tens of millions of Americans. It helped put food on the table.”
“And as my dad used to say, it gave the people just a little bit of breathing room. Unlike the $2 trillion tax cut passed in the previous administration that benefitted the top 1% of Americans, the American Rescue Plan,” Biden paused briefly as the audience booed the Trump tax cuts, but Schumer was already on his feet. He looked around briefly and sat back down, only to stand again with everyone else when Biden finished the sentence.
“The American Rescue Plan helped working people and left no one behind,” he said, and the audience responded with a standing ovation.