Biden's fiery State of the Union speech contrasts with Trump's

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his State of the Union address Thursday night, President Joe Biden argued for a second time alongside GOP front-runner Donald Trump for supporting “resentment, vengeance and retribution” and endangering freedom and liberty at home. Abroad.

Seizing on the political moment, Biden fired multiple broadsides at “my predecessor” without mentioning Trump by name — 13 times in total — as he repeatedly voiced concerns about his age and job performance among voters. All-but-sure November contender.

Biden's scrappy tone was a sharp break from his often humdrum day-to-day appearance, and it was intended to be repulsive. Doubts The 81-year-old president, the nation's oldest, is still on the job.

During 68 minutes in the House chamber, Biden grilled Republicans on their policies on immigration, taxes and more, called for call-and-response banter with fellow Democrats and seemed to enjoy the spat.

“I knew I couldn't be like that, but I was for a while,” Biden deadpanned. “When you get to my age some things become clearer than before.”

Born during World War II and coming of political age during the upheaval of the 1960s, Biden declared: “My life has taught me to embrace freedom and democracy. A future based on the core values ​​that define America: honesty, decency, dignity, equality. Respect for all. Fairness for all.” To put the scene. There's no safe harbor for hate. Now some people my age are seeing a different story: the American story of resentment, vengeance, and revenge. That's not me.”

The president linked Trump's praise for those who seized the Capitol in an attempt to subvert the 2020 election to anti-democratic threats abroad.

“Freedom and democracy are under attack at home and abroad simultaneously,” Biden said as he appealed to Congress to support Ukraine's efforts to defend itself against Russia's two-year occupation. “History is watching.”

Jan. 6, 2021, Biden directly addressed the riot at the Capitol and called out those who had brought it down.

“My predecessor — and some of you — seek to bury the truth about January 6th — I will not do that,” Biden said. “This is a moment to speak the truth and bury the lies. Here is a simple fact. You can't love your country only if you win.

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The State of the Union address is a marquee night on the White House calendar, giving presidents a direct line to a captive audience of lawmakers and dignitaries in the House chamber and millions watching at home — almost certain to be Biden's largest audience. year. Biden knew he would be watched not only for his message, but also for whether he could deliver it with vigor and command.

Aides said Biden is aiming to flash his combative side by proving his doubters wrong and trying to inject Republicans into positions he believes are beyond the country. Access to abortionBut tax policy and healthcare.

Taking a victory lap in selling his legislative accomplishments, including funding to boost the production of computer chips across the country, Biden sidestepped his prepared script to take a dig at Republicans who voted against such policies.

“If any of you don't need that money in your districts, let me know,” Biden said.

The president is speaking before a historically ineffective Congress. In the GOP-led House, Speaker Mike Johnson took over five months ago Confused discharge of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Lawmakers are still struggling to approve funding bills for the current year and foreign aid bills to help Ukraine have been stalled for months. Stop the Russian invasion and support Israel's Struggle Against Hamas.

Johnson urged Republicans to show “decency” during a speech at a private rally on Wednesday, but he appeared to have limited success. As Biden discussed raising taxes on billionaires and corporations, several House Republicans stood up and began to walk out of the room. While the others sat in their chairs and shook their heads, Johnson did not hide his emotions, raising his eyebrows and occasionally rolling his eyes.

Biden engaged in a loud call-and-response with lawmakers as he rhetorically questioned whether the tax code was fair and whether billionaires and corporations needed “another $2 trillion in tax breaks.”

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Biden also touted his efforts to fight “shrinkage inflation” — companies putting fewer pretzels in the jar and less yogurt in sealed cups — and so-called “junk fees” on services. Not the main driver of inflation, but the White House hopes to show consumers that Biden is fighting for them.

Congressional Republican leaders showcased one of their newest lawmakers State of the Union denial, hoping to create a generational contrast with Biden. Alabama Sen. Katie Britt, the youngest Republican woman elected to the Senate, painted a picture of a nation that “seems to be slipping away” and “our families are hurting.”

“Right now, our commander is not in command. “The free world deserves more than a bored and depleted leader,” Britt said deliberately in an address from his home kitchen. “America deserves leaders who recognize that secure borders, stable prices, safe streets and a strong defense are the cornerstones of a great nation.”

Biden, by contrast, insisted the union's position was “stronger and stronger.”

Trump responded to the speech in real time on his Truth community site, defending himself and blasting Biden for what he called “the angriest, least compassionate and worst State of the Union speech ever made. This is a disgrace to our country!”

This year, Biden has faced heightened emotions — especially among his core supporters — over his staunch support for Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza. Biden initially hoped the talks would lead to a short-term ceasefire that would allow for the release of more hostages and an increase in much-needed aid into the region. The White House blames Hamas Still haven't accepted the deal Brokerage by the United States and its allies.

“Israel needs to allow more aid into Gaza and make sure humanitarian workers don't get caught up in the fighting,” Biden said, even as he reaffirmed Israel's right to do so and warned Israel not to use aid as a “bargaining” tool with Hamas. To defend against the attacks of the militant group.

Democrats and Republicans wore pins and stickers honoring Israeli hostages still held in Gaza. Meanwhile, many House progressives wore Palestinian keffiyehs, the black-and-white checkered scarves that have come to symbolize Palestinian unity. Biden's motorcade to the address took a detour to the Capitol as hundreds of pro-ceasefire demonstrators tried to disrupt its route from the White House.

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Nocturnal migration is another flash point.

The GOP-controlled House refused to act on the Senate-passed version of the aid bill after Trump used his influence to push for tougher new measures to curb migration along the US-Mexico border. Help sink a bipartisan compromise He would have done that.

As Biden ran with the approval of the law's conservative groups, some in the audience appeared to shout and interrupt, and Biden snapped back, “I know how you want to read.”

Representative wearing pro-Trump paraphernalia. As Marjorie Taylor Green continued to yell at Biden, the president held up a white button the Georgia Republican Party had given him earlier bearing the name of slain Lagan Riley. Authorities say a Georgia nursing student was killed by a Venezuelan national who entered the United States illegally in September 2022.

“Logan Riley,” Biden said, calling it “an innocent young woman killed by lawlessness.” He expressed his condolences to the family saying his heart goes out to them.

Access to abortion and fertility treatments was a key component of Biden's speech, especially in light of a controversial ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that upheld access to in vitro fertilization treatment in the state.

“To my friends across the aisle, don't keep families waiting any longer,” Biden said, acknowledging guest Latoria Beasley, the first lady to have IVF treatments overturned after the Alabama ruling. “Guaranteed IVF rights nationwide!”

Another guest Kate CoxThe Texas plaintiff, who eventually left her home state to obtain an emergency abortion after being diagnosed with a severe fetal anomaly, drew national attention.

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AP writers Stephen Groves, Josh Bogue, Amir Madani, Farnoosh Amiri, Kevin Freking, Fatima Hussain, Amanda Seitz and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

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