Talk about a raucous caucus.
President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address got spicy a few times on Tuesday night, with the commander-in-chief getting downright combative with Republicans at some points — and GOP lawmakers responding with jeers and boos.
Last year, many viewers and Congress members were shocked by House Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert heckling Biden during his first State of the Union address. But this year’s speech saw Republicans interrupting several times — and Biden even giving it back as good as he was getting.
So if you missed the State of the Union speech, these are some of the most viral moments that everyone will be talking about:
Biden went off script while congratulating GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
Before the president got things rolling, he congratulated the members of the 118th Congress, including the new House speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy.
And then he tossed out his first joke: “Speaker, I don’t want to ruin your reputation but I look forward to working with you,” he said.
It was the first sign that Biden’s gloves were off this evening. And indeed, Biden remained smiling, and often responded to the interruptions that peppered his lengthy speech.
Biden blamed President Trump for driving up the national debt
“No president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor,” Biden said, adding, “nearly 25% of the entire national debt, a debt that took 200 years to accumulate, was added by just one administration alone — the last one.”
(CNN’s fact-checkers noted that the national debt, now more than $31 trillion, increased by just under $8 trillion during Trump’s four years in office, in part because of Trump’s major tax cuts.)
This drew immediate outcry from the Republican side of the chamber. “Check it out!” Biden told them.
But the murmurs got even louder when Biden said some Republicans were looking to cut safety nets like Social Security and Medicare….
Marjorie Taylor Greene calls Biden a “liar” over Social Security claims
Biden seemed to be baiting Republicans when he accused the GOP of wanting to “take the economy hostage” unless he agreed to their economic plans. “All of you at home should know what their plans are,” he said. “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.”
This led to the loudest outcry of the night, with plenty of booing from the Republican side — and a microphone catching Greene standing up and shouting “liar!”
But Biden turned the ruckus around in his favor, saying “I enjoy conversion.”
“So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right? All right,” he said, giving a thumbs-up. “Let’s all agree — and we apparently are — let’s stand up for seniors. If anyone tries to cut Social Security — which apparently they’re not going to do — and if anyone tries, and Medicare, I’ll stop them. I’ll veto it.”
A heckler blames Biden for the fentanyl crisis
Toward the end of his speech, when Biden addressed arresting 8,000 human smugglers and seizing more 23,000 pounds of fentanyl over the last several months, reporters picked up Greene yelling “It’s coming from China!” and another heckler calling out “It’s your fault!”
“You got it,” Biden responded.
Before the speech, Mitt Romney and George Santos had a tense run-in
Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican who’s been in hot water for lying about his background, was caught on camera having an exchange with Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney before Biden arrived.
The two men didn’t shake hands. And while no microphone picked up exactly what was said, some journalists reviewing the footage speculated that Romney told Santos he should be “embarrassed” and that “you don’t belong here.” And an ABC News reporter suggested that Santos responded by calling Romney an ass—.
Santos tweeted at Romney after the speech, “just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!”
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Biden is “doubling down on crazy” in GOP rebuttal.
The Arkansas governor gave the Republican response to the State of the Union address on Tuesday night in a speech of her own that was also combative.
“The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy,” she said, also calling Biden “unfit to serve as commander in chief.”
And she wrapped her remarks by noting that “it is time for a new generation of Republican leadership.”
More State of the Union coverage on MarketWatch: