“We’re Going to be Okay” – Takeaways from President Biden’s First State of the Union Address


Misha Ankudovych, Editor-In-Chief

In a State of the Union Address generally well received by the American people, President Biden continued on his course of being a centrist president. Biden spoke mostly about our country’s economy, and the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russo-Ukraine crisis intersected with it, including the announcement of releasing over 60 million barrels of oils from international reserves. 

Surprisingly, more time was spent discussing Russia and Ukraine than COVID-19. Biden also spoke without a mask, and there were more people (most also maskless) in the crowd. Biden and others could be seen hugging and greeting people before the address, so it begs the question, Have we truly seen the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic? (Note: The House chamber was roughly one-third full, guests were not allowed, and some members of Congress were  moved to the public viewing gallery to allow for more spacing. Everyone in the room was required to submit a negative PCR test result, and press access to the House chamber was  dramatically reduced.)

Biden discussed his Build Back Better plan, and announced the rebuilding of transportation infrastructure over the next year, which is sure to help presidential hopeful and Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg as well. Biden noted that he plans to achieve this “leaving no American behind” and ensuring that taxes will not increase for anyone under $400,000. He then criticized the previous administration’s tax plan, which garnered him his first boos of the night. In another point of criticism by the GOP, when discussing his son Beau’s death and his experience at war, he was interrupted by a Republican lawmaker who blamed Biden for placing troops there in the first place. 

While there was some criticism from the Republican Party, there were other times in which Biden received support as well– whether it was in a form he appreciated or not, is up for debate. When discussing American manufacturing, some in the crowd chanted “USA”. While discussing increasing border security, some chanted “Build the Wall”. Biden also said that defunding the police is not the answer, contrary to what was touted by members of his own party earlier in the year. He stated that the true solution is funding the police; he then said that 4 times over. 

Regardless of the heckling and chanting, the governments did show their unity in supporting Ukraine in their current conflict. All in attendance gave a standing ovation to Ukraine as Biden told the world that the United States stood with them as the Ukrainian ambassador stood next to Jill Biden. Biden also called for unity and solidarity among the American people, stating that America will remain strong because Americans are strong, and that it will all be okay. Hopefully he has proved to the American people that we can believe him.