President Joe Biden delivered a strong State of the Union speech at a pivotal moment for his presidency, The Guardian reports.
Biden highlighted the policy successes of his administration’s first two years, seemingly laying down the groundwork for another run for the White House in 2024.
During what some saw as a “soft launch for his 2024 campaign,” Biden also addressed the U.S. being in the “strongest position in decades” to challenge China, called for the need of meaningful policing as Tyre Nichols’ family watched on from the audience, and condemned rightwing threats to democracy.
The president presented his administration’s achievements at last night’s speech including record job growth. He also called on Republicans to help him “finish the job” of ensuring economic recovery and healing sociopolitical divides across the country.
Biden also addressed other major issues including U.S.-China relations, threats to social security and Medicare, police violence, gun control, reproductive rights, and political violence.
The economy is a leading concern for Americans. The president talked up last month’s near-record-low unemployment rate and the 12 million jobs added since 2021. He acknowledged inflation, calling it a global issue, and said it was coming down. He talked up infrastructure investment, buying ‘made in America,’ and cracking down on corporate taxes, The New York Times reported.
Social issues were the other big talking point. Police reform was a big one, with Tyre Nichols’ parents in the audience, Biden spoke of his executive order banning chokeholds and limiting no-knock warrants.
He also noted other recent wins like the most sweeping gun legislation reform in 30 years, and called for a ban on assault weapons.
Biden praised the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. And called for Congress to codify Roe v. Wade. He promised to veto a national abortion ban if Republicans go that far.
Biden’s strong performance was a blow to critics.
The speech was delivered to a divided Congress. And at moments, the address was not exactly a celebration of a unity agenda, thanks to heckling from far-right representatives of Congress.
President Biden was about midway through a speech of about 7,218-words when controversial far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried to shut him down with a single one: “Liar!”
Republican lawmakers shouted both “liar” and “bullshit” at parts of Mr. Biden’s speech, and no one appeared shocked.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy even tried shushing his Republican colleagues.
Biden’s second State of the Union address was punctuated by random outbursts, jeers, and peals of mocking laughter, but Biden turned the tables on his Republican opponents and argued in real-time with the insurgents.