President Joe Biden made the case for optimism in his second State of the Union address Tuesday evening, arguing his agenda has made the country stronger as he sought to promote legislative achievements and economic gains.
Biden, who gave the address to a divided Congress for the first time, repeatedly called on lawmakers to work across the aisle to pass legislation.
“Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere,” he said.
Biden’s address was disrupted at times by loud heckling from some Republicans, notably Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who was caught on a hot mic calling the president a liar.
The state of the union is “strong,” Biden argued, “because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong.”
Biden spent plenty of time promoting legislative wins like the infrastructure and semiconductor bills signed into law during his first two years in office, saying they would create jobs and boost American competitiveness.
He came back to the ideas of unity and bipartisanship throughout the speech, while also taking aim at Republicans over some proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare. His words drew loud boos and protests from Republicans in the crowd, with Greene yelling, “liar” and “you lie.”
“As we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now,” Biden said in response. “We’ve got unanimity.”
Biden also pledged to support Ukraine amid Russia’s war “as long as it takes” and said the U.S. was seeking “competition but not conflict” with China.
Biden’s address came amid polls showing an American public that is pessimistic about the trajectory of the country.
White House officials stressed ahead of the speech that Biden would argue that the U.S. is making progress under his leadership while acknowledging that there’s work left to do to curb inflation.
The president is expected to announce a reelection bid soon and the speech served as a test-run for some likely themes of his impending campaign.