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State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

WASHINGTON — The state of the union is strong and getting stronger. That’s what President Biden declared in his third State of the Union address Thursday night as he laid out his vision for the nation as he heads into another general election campaign.

The president opened his speech warning of the threats to democracy both at home and abroad, citing the war in Ukraine and the January 6th rioters. He said they were not patriots and sought to overturn the will of the American people based on lies the election was stolen.

In a jab at Donald Trump, Biden said you “can’t love your country only when you win.”

While he never mentioned his political rival Donald Trump by name, he often referred to “his predecessor,” and accused him of running a campaign of revenge and retribution.

Biden added his life experience has taught him to embrace freedom, democracy, and a future based on honesty, decency, and dignity. The reference to his age comes amid concerns over whether the president is up for another term as president. At 81, Biden would be the oldest person elected president if he wins re-election in November. Trump will turn 78 in June.

He called on Republican lawmakers to back a bipartisan border deal negotiated in the Senate and pledged to bring American hostages home still being held by Hamas. Biden called it the “toughest set of border security reforms we’ve ever seen,” prompting boos from GOP lawmakers. He claimed the bill would save lives and bring order to the border. Republicans killed the deal, arguing it doesn’t go far enough to stop the flow of migrants.

Before his address, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene dared Biden to say the name Laken Riley — the Georgia nursing student who was killed on the campus of the University of Georgia by an illegal immigrant. Biden obliged but is catching heat for mispronouncing Riley’s name. Biden said “Lincoln” Riley instead of Laken Riley.

Greene called that part of the speech “a disgrace.”

As far as the war between Israel and Hamas goes, Biden said Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and claimed Hamas could end the war if they released the hostages and surrendered. But, he added innocent Palestinians are being killed in the conflict.

President Biden is also defending his policies toward China.

The president said the trade deficit with China is down and his administration is taking action against China’s unfair economic practices. He also highlighted efforts to strengthen ties in the Pacific, adding “We want competition with China, but not conflict.”

Biden is also promising to restore Roe v. Wade as “the law of the land again” if he’s re-elected in November.

Alabama Senator Katie Britt is delivering the Republican response.

While speaking from Montgomery, Britt said Americans deserve a leader who isn’t “dithering and diminished.” She said the nation needs a leader who recognizes that secure borders, stable prices, and safe streets are the cornerstones of a great nation. The first-term Alabama Republican is the youngest woman in the Senate.

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