President Biden’s State of the Union Address: Jeers, Heckles, and a Unanimous Endorsement
President Joe Biden's second State of the Union address on Tuesday night was met with jeers and heckles from some Republicans, but Biden was ready for them. Not only did he roll with the interruptions, but he used them to reinforce his message and even get a unanimous endorsement for his proposal to cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for all Americans.
Biden was confronted by a chorus of hecklers led by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who called him a “liar” for his statement that some Republicans wanted to sunset Social Security and Medicare. Far from being flustered by the interruptions, Biden seemed to enjoy it, quipping, “I enjoy conversion.” He got the entire chamber to applaud for preserving the programs, turning his critics into props in his performance.
In her Republican response to the State of the Union, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders characterized Biden as an old representative of the woke left. She bragged about being 40 and accused Biden of caring more about “woke fantasies” than Americans’ economic concerns and called him “unfit to serve.
President Biden's address was overshadowed by the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon a few days prior, exacerbating the already-strained relationship between the U.S. and China. The president chose to indirectly reference it when speaking about protecting U.S. sovereignty from China’s threats.
Though the economy remains one of Biden’s biggest challenges, he painted a sunny picture of the improving outlook. He touted the recent cap on insulin prices at $35 for seniors on Medicare and spoke about replacing lead pipes in 10 million homes, 400,000 schools and childcare centers.
Multiple times, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appeared to be shushing his conference as they jeered Biden, and some moderate Republicans praised the Speaker for trying to keep his conference in order.
As Biden moves toward a formal re-election announcement, dissatisfaction with the economy – along with other factors, including the president’s age (now 80) – is leading many voters, including Democrats, to seek another option. Surveys have shown Democrats would prefer someone else to run in 2024 instead of Biden, mostly because of his age – though no one can definitively point to who the alternative should be.
0. “Biden proposal to cap all insulin prices at $35 a month has little chance of passing Congress” CNBC, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/09/biden-proposal-to-cap-all-insulin-prices-at-35-a-month-has-little-chance-of-passing-congress.html
1. “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene carried a white balloon ahead of the State of the Union” CBS News, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/state-of-the-union-rep-marjorie-taylor-greene-carries-white-balloon-chinese-spy-balloon-shot-down
2. “GOP divided over whether heckling Biden hurts them” The Hill, 9 Feb. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/house/3850194-gop-divided-over-whether-heckling-biden-hurts-them
3. “Republicans Keep Underestimating Joe Biden” The Atlantic, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/02/republicans-keep-underestimating-joe-biden/672997
4. “Marjorie Taylor Greene’s fur coat at the State of the Union sent a message” The Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2023/02/08/marjorie-taylor-greene-coat-state-union/
5. “Biden showed complete lack of leadership in failing to address China in State of the Union” New York Post , 9 Feb. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/02/08/biden-showed-complete-lack-of-leadership-in-failing-to-address-china-in-state-of-the-union
6. “Is the Biden administration late to WWIII?” The Hill, 9 Feb. 2023, https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/3850202-is-the-biden-administration-late-to-wwiii/
7. “State of the Union shows Biden focused on 2024, not economy, inflation” USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/columnist/2023/02/08/biden-state-union-not-message-americans-needed-economy/11203732002
8. “FactChecking the State of the Union” FactCheck.org, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.factcheck.org/2023/02/factchecking-the-state-of-the-union-4/