President Joe Biden delivered an optimistic message in his annual State of the Union address but several Republicans booed and heckled interrupting his speech.
Delivering what was widely viewed as a test run for his reelection announcement, Biden claimed credit for progress made during his first two years in office while stressing the job isn’t finished.
Biden extended an olive branch to the opposition party, which took over the lower chamber of Congress last month with vows to investigate the president’s family and Cabinet.
“To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress,” said the president, who has previously been accused by his opponents of divisive rhetoric.
“We’ve been sent here to finish the job!” he added.
The US President also said that two years after supporters of his predecessor Donald Trump rioted at the US Capitol, America’s democracy was “unbowed and unbroken”.
Accusations of “liar” by Republicans during Biden’s State of the Union
When Biden began castigating Republicans for plans that would slash Social Security and Medicare, several Republicans booed and lobbed accusations of “liar” from their seats in the chamber.
Check out who the camera ends up on while Republicans call Biden a liar for calling them out on Social Security pic.twitter.com/7BkKVSABxG
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 8, 2023
He said: “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and social security to sunset every five years. That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away.”
Among Republican boos and jeers, right-winger Marjorie Taylor Greene was seen and heard shouting: “Liar!”
President Biden: "Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset. I'm not saying it's the majority."
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: "Liar!" pic.twitter.com/OFUglFuBxC
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 8, 2023
As CNN points out that in itself wasn’t unprecedented. What happened next was rarer: Biden leaned into the opening, responding and engaging his hecklers.
“I enjoy conversion,” he quipped, suggesting they were in agreement on the need to protect the programs for senior citizens.
Biden spoke in a Capitol still reverberating with Republican attempts to capitalize on the affair of the Chinese spy balloon, which was shot down off the Carolinas last Saturday after traversing the country.
Rightwingers including Greene, who paraded her own balloon through the halls before the speech, say Biden was too slow to take action.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) February 7, 2023
Biden rejected that, saying: “Today, we’re in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world. I am committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world. But make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.”