President Joe Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address before a divided Congress on Tuesday night.
Since becoming president in January 2021, Biden had Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) behind him as he delivered past speeches in the U.S. Capitol. Now, for the first time, he’ll have a Republican looking over his shoulder as he speaks. That will be House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who won the gavel last month.
McCarthy released a video on Twitter signaling that he will not repeat Pelosi’s “theatrics” put on display when she ripped up a paper copy of former President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in 2020. “I don’t believe in the theatrics of tearing up speeches,” McCarthy said. “I respect the other side. I can disagree on policy, but I want to make sure this country is stronger, economically sound, energy independent, secure, and accountable.”
A lot of people have been asking if I’m planning on ripping up President Biden’s speech tonight. Here’s my answer: pic.twitter.com/WRlAlYgCbs
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) February 7, 2023
Still, while McCarthy may be going for restraint in the House chamber Tuesday evening, Biden will be speaking as Republicans ramp up all sorts of investigations involving the president, his administration, and his family.
Biden’s speech set for 9 p.m. ET will argue the “state of the economy is strong” emerging from a years-long pandemic, and preview Biden’s budget request next month, according to a White House fact sheet. The president is also expected to announce new policies meant to advance his four-part “Unity Agenda,” which includes fighting cancer, helping veterans, improving mental health, and stopping opioid use and overdoses.
Among the major stories of the day that may influence Biden’s remarks are Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that will soon reach the one-year mark, domestic issues including high inflation and border security, and recent controversies such the one involving a suspected Chinese spy balloon flying across the United States.
Arkansas Republican Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who served as Trump’s White House press secretary, will deliver the formal GOP rebuttal to Biden’s address on Tuesday.
“What America needs – and what Republicans are offering – is a return to common sense and a commitment to the ideals that made America the land of the free and home of the brave,” she said upon being picked.
Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) will deliver the Spanish-language GOP response.
The White House released a list of guests who will be sitting with the president’s wife, first lady Jill Biden, during the State of the Union address. Among them are Ukraine Ambassador Oksana Markarova and Holocaust survivor Ruth Cohen.
TONIGHT: White House releases the list of guests sitting with @FLOTUS at the #StateOfTheUnionAddress. Among them: The ambassador from Ukraine, the parents of #TyreNichols, Paul Pelosi, the man who stopped the gunman in the #MontereyPark shooting, a DREAMer, a Holocaust survivor. pic.twitter.com/88a9sbbFQ5
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) February 7, 2023
Also in attendance will be Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of Nancy Pelosi, who survived a break-in attack at their San Francisco home in late October, as well as RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man allegedly beaten to death by police in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, the guest list includes Brandon Tsay, the man caught on camera disarming the suspected gunman in the deadly Monterey Park, California, shooting.
Biden’s job approval rating has hovered around the low-to-mid 40s since the beginning of the year. While Biden is expected to tout a resilient economy, four in 10 Americans say they are worse off financially since he took office, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
The president has said he intends to run for re-election in 2024, and reports indicate a formal announcement could happen around the time of the State of the Union address. Trump, who has already entered the race with his third campaign for the White House, is expected to respond to Biden’s speech Tuesday with his own video, according to NBC News.