Utah delegation’s reaction to Biden’s State of the Union Address

Feb 8, 2023, 8:51 AM | Updated: Feb 9, 2023, 11:58 am
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address duri...
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on February 07, 2023 in Washington, DC. The speech marks Biden's first address to the new Republican-controlled House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — President Biden spoke to both houses of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday night, with Utah representatives in attendance, in a State of the Union Address that was firey at times. 

And government leaders as well as Utah’s congressional delegation had some firey responses.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, attended the State of the Union as a guest of Sen. Mike Lee. And he said that, initially, he was on board with what President Biden was saying.

“The President started out talking about American exceptionalism, and, like, ‘oh this is good,’ like, ‘I can get behind this, right, this is something that is unifying,” the governor said.

“And then it went off the rails a little bit, it certainly became less unifying.”

Utah Sen Mike Lee’s response to the State of the Union

Sen. Lee categorized the State of the Union as something “objectively different than any other that I’ve attended”  “Because the president of the United States looked us right in the eye and mischaracterized what half the people in the chamber believe, what half the people in the chamber, according to him, want.

“It wasn’t true. And he did that not just once, he did it 234 times,” Lee said.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney later said he was grateful that President Biden addressed things like protecting Ukraine and worldwide democracy, as well as being in competition rather than contention with China.

“I hope it’s a message that we learned, which is, if a nation is relatively weak or perceived as being weak, they are susceptible to being attacked by a stronger neighbor,” Romney said.

“It’s one reason we keep America strong.”


He, like Sen. Lee, was not a fan of the claim that Republicans in Congress want to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Romney was also disappointed with how the president attributed inflation to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, rather than spending by the Democrats.

Rep. John Curtis’ reaction to Biden’s State of the Union speech

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, reached out to KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to share his response to President Biden’s vowing to give US public school teachers a pay raise.

Debbie noted a bill passed during the current legislative session giving licensed Utah educators a $6,000 hike in salary.

Senate gives final passage to school choice scholarships, teacher raises

“The governor also brought something up to us earlier today when he called the show. He said that’s the state’s job to give teachers raises. So maybe you have the inside track. Is the federal government going to go in the direction of giving teachers raises and should they?”

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, attended the State of the Union address as a guest of Sen. Mike Lee.

“When the president said that last night, the person on my right and then the person on my left leaned over and said, ‘How many teachers are on the federal payroll?’ It’s not the job of the federal government.

“It goes a little bit with the theme last night, which was: I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a promise he left out of something that he was going to give or do . . . I mean, I don’t think he missed anything whether or not it was the federal government’s responsibility or not,” Curtis replied.

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Utah delegation’s reaction to Biden’s State of the Union Address