Biden Blends State of the Union With Campaign Speech: 5 Takeaways

The president attacked his predecessor more than a dozen times.

With multiple factors weighing against his chances in the 2024 election, President Joe Biden faced a deeply divided Congress on March 7 to deliver a fiery State of the Union address, blaming President Donald Trump and Republicans for the array of crises facing the nation and highlighting his record since taking office.

In the roughly hour-long primetime speech, President Biden touched upon key issues animating the election campaign: the crisis on the southern border, sticky inflation, wars in Ukraine and the Middle east, and access to abortion.

State of the Union speeches in the final year of a president’s first term are usually viewed as the kickstart to their campaign. The address was a critical moment for the incumbent as he attempted to boost his approval ratings by touting his accomplishments over the last three years heading into the November contest.

While he did not mention President Trump by name, President Biden referred to “my predecessor” more than a dozen times.

‘My Predecessor’

President Biden attacked his predecessor and now election opponent, President Donald Trump, over nearly every major issue covered in the speech.

President Biden criticized President Trump over Ukraine, citing the former president saying he would not mind if Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded NATO members who do not pay their agreed-upon share toward defense.

“My predecessor, a former Republican President, tells Putin, ‘Do whatever the hell you want,’” said President Biden. “A former American President actually said that, bowing down to a Russian leader. It’s outrageous. It’s dangerous. It’s unacceptable.”

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President Biden blamed President Trump for the Supreme Court overturning the landmark abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade. The justices he appointed—Neil Gorsuch, Bret Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett—voted with the majority to overturn the 1973 decision.

President Trump, he said, “came to office determined to see Roe v. Wade overturned. He’s the reason it was overturned. In fact, he brags about it.”

President Biden noted the potency of abortion as an issue at the ballot box and said that this election year will be no different.

President Biden then went after President Trump over health care. He cited his predecessor trying to repeal and replace Obamacare, an effort that failed in 2017.

The president also called out his predecessor for allegedly influencing Senate Republicans to block a border security bill.

“He feels it would be a political win for me and a political loser for him,” said President Biden.

The president also called out his predecessor for his rhetoric and actions on immigration.

“I will not demonize immigrants saying they ‘poison the blood of our country’ as he said in his own words,” he said. “I will not separate families.”

President Biden also rebuked President Trump for his ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries whose people America cannot properly vet. President Biden repealed that executive order on his first day in office.

The president also went after his predecessor on the issue of the Second Amendment.

​​”My predecessor told the NRA he’s proud he did nothing on guns when he was President,” he said.

“After another school shooting in Iowa he said we should just ‘get over it,’” he continued, referring to the Jan. 4 tragedy at Perry High School, where a shooter killed three people.

Barbs Over the Border

President Biden slammed Republicans for blocking the bipartisan border security bill in the Senate. This prompted jeers from the Republican side of the audience.

“In November, my team began serious negotiations with a bipartisan group of senators,” he said. “The result was a bipartisan bill with the toughest set of border security reforms we’ve ever seen in this country.”

Republicans described the bill as inadequate.

“I’m told my predecessor called Republicans in Congress and demanded they block the bill,” said President Biden.

During the immigration part of the speech, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) heckled President Biden and told him to “say her name,” referring to University of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley, who was allegedly murdered by an illegal alien.

On his way to the podium, Greene had handed Biden a badge with the words “Laken Riley”.

President Biden picked up the badge when Greene shouted, but botched the victim’s name as “Lincoln Riley.”

Lincoln Riley is the head coach of the football team at the University of Southern California.

Pressuring Republicans on Ukraine

President Joe Biden chided Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump on several foreign policy issues including the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The president singled out GOP House leadership for apparently stalling a bill that would provide security assistance to Ukraine, despite the bill having passed the Senate.

President Biden also defended the ongoing dedication of the NATO defensive military alliance, and attacked former President Trump’s stance on Ukraine and his continued antagonism over the ongoing war in Europe. Trump has promised to end the war in Ukraine in “24 hours.”

In the crosshairs were statements President Trump made last month, in which he said he would encourage Russia to attack NATO nations who did not meet their obligatory defense spending requirements.

“It’s outrageous. It’s dangerous. And it’s unacceptable,” President Biden Said.

Shortcomings in NATO defense spending have been a sticking point for former President Trump since his 2016 campaign.

NATO requires its members to contribute two percent of their GDP annually to defense, a mark which many nations have historically fallen short of. That trend appears to have reversed since Russia launched its invasion, however.

Many NATO nations now spend much more than two percent of GDP with some, like Poland, spending more than four, which is a greater percentage than what the United States spends.

President Biden also praised the expansion of NATO in the last year, and the security benefits that the alliance will reap from the accession of Finland and Sweden.


President Biden touted his economic record during the State of the Union address at a time when many Americans disapprove of the way he is handling the economy.

“I inherited an economy that was on the brink. Now our economy is the envy of the world!” he said.

In his speech, President Biden reiterated some of the economic data, including shrinking the racial wealth gap, unemployment at a 50-year low, and 16 million Americans starting small businesses.

However, the president was incorrect when he claimed that U.S. inflation is “the lowest in the world.”

While the annual inflation rate has slowed from a peak of 9.1 percent in June 2022 to 3.1 percent, it is still higher than other major economies. This includes Canada (2.9 percent), the eurozone (2.6 percent), Japan (2.2 percent), and China (negative 0.8 percent).

He cited the many polls showing “consumer confidence is soaring.”

It is true that the top surveys, from the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, have blossomed in recent months. However, they have slumped over the past month amid stubborn inflation and concerns over the labor market.

On the issue of jobs, President Biden reiterated that “a record” 15 million new jobs have been created in the last three years, including “800,000 new manufacturing jobs.” But he is including employment that was recovered from the coronavirus pandemic, which economists say can be misleading.

Meanwhile, he championed the trifecta of legislative victories—the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—that have led to hundreds of billions of dollars in private sector investments, modernized the nation’s infrastructure, and facilitated job growth.

“It’s transformative,” President Biden said.

“When Americans get knocked down, we get back up! We keep going! That’s America! That’s you, the American people!”

He also promised that the days of trickle-down economics are over and that the biggest and wealthiest corporations will “no longer get all the breaks.”

President Biden proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 21 percent and introducing a 25 percent billionaires tax that would generate an estimated $500 billion over ten years. He also promised that nobody earning under $400,000 would pay more taxes.

“Nobody. Not one penny.”

“The way to make the tax code fair is to make big corporations and the very wealthy finally pay their share,” he added.

Energetic Speech, But Slurring and Mispronunciation Continue

President Joe Biden had many issues to tackle during his speech, but for some lawmakers and voters alike, instilling confidence in his ability to lead despite his age and health were among the most important.

Amid the energy and vigor President Biden displayed throughout much of his address, he also stumbled and slurred his words a few times, notably when he said the name of a nursing student from Georgia who was recently murdered.

Authorities say Laken Hope Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student from the University of Georgia, was allegedly murdered by Jose Ibarra, a 26-year-old illegal alien from Venezuela.

Republicans urged President Biden ahead of his State of the Union to “say Laken Riley’s name,” and when he finally reached that point in his speech, he incorrectly called her “Lincoln Riley” instead.

The president also fumbled the word “massacre” when referring to the Oct. 7, 2023, terrorist attack by Hamas, calling it a “mascara.”

However, President Biden later addressed his age head-on by acknowledging that some believe he is “too old” to do his job effectively.

He joked that other Senators refused to hold the elevator for him when he was first elected to the Senate at the age of 29 because they believed he was “too young” at the time.

President Biden reiterated that the country’s future isn’t about “how old we are,” but is instead about the age of our ideas.

“Hate, anger, revenge, retribution are the oldest of ideas. But you can’t lead America with ancient ideas, it will only take us back,” President Biden said.

“To lead America, the land of possibilities, you need a vision of the future of what can and should be done. Tonight you heard mine.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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