[guest post by Dana]
President Biden will be delivering the State of the Union address tonight. Reportedly, the President’s speech was to be an opportunity to “reset” his presidency and focus on his domestic agenda. However, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, speech writers were compelled to rewrite parts of his speech. About the invasion and tonight’s speech:
President Biden vowed on Tuesday to make President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia “pay a price” for invading Ukraine, seeking to rally the world as Moscow’s forces rained down missiles on Ukrainian cities and prepared to lay siege to the capital of Kyiv.
Appearing before a joint session of Congress at a fraught moment in modern history, Mr. Biden planned to call on lawmakers to approve more arms and humanitarian aid for Ukraine while appealing to Americans to brace themselves for economic hardships resulting from the conflict.
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson — when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Mr. Biden said in excerpts from the speech released by the White House in advance. “They keep moving. And the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising.”
No president has delivered his State of the Union address with such a large-scale and consequential land war underway in Europe since 1945 and Mr. Biden faced the challenge of holding together multinational and bipartisan alliances to counter Mr. Putin. But even as he was readying his speech, congressional negotiations over an aid package bogged down in a partisan quarrel.
The president’s annual speech, slated to start just after 9 p.m. in Washington, will take place in the middle of the night in Ukraine at a time when some of the most devastating Russian attacks have taken place, raising the prospect of a split-screen moment juxtaposing images of explosions and gunfire against the president in the rostrum of the Capitol.
And while the President clearly hopes to unite Americans with his speech tonight, the fissures within his own party will be on display as several Democrats announced that they will be responding to his SOTU address:
In a sign of the complicated political landscape, Mr. Biden will be followed not just by the traditional Republican response, to be delivered by Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, but by a separate responses by several members of his own party: Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for the progressive Working Families Party, Representative Colin Allred of Texas for the Congressional Black Caucus, and Representative Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey for the bipartisan group No Labels.
Gottheimer criticized Tlaib’s decision to speak, saying it was “like keying your own car and slashing your own tires,” and that it would be “massively counterproductive”.
Moreover, Gottheimer added:
“This only highlights the real tension between the socialist far left and the common-sense moderate wing, which is focused on crime, costs, tax cuts and affordability and turning the page on Covid.”
Gottheimer wasn’t alone in his criticism:
Filemon Vela, a Texas Democrat, said it was “astonishing” that the “radical left continues to promote a Democratic death wish, and sees no problem relegating our party to the permanent minority”.
Information on where to watch the address here.