‘Disgusting’ and ‘highly political’: Utah senators respond to Biden’s State of the Union

Mar 8, 2024, 2:00 PM

Side by side images of President Biden, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney. Utah's repub...

Utah Senator Mike Lee and Sen. Mitt Romney react to President Biden's State of the union address. (Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, both R-Utah, responded to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Speech Thursday night on social media.

Sen. Lee: “I think he borrowed a little something from Hunter tonight”

Lee posted 53 tweets in two hours about the State of the Union speech on his personal and official X accounts.

These ranged from invoking the name of Laken Riley, a woman allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant, to appearing to imply the President had used drugs from his son, Hunter.

While tweeting from his account, Lee paraphrased the President at one point but changed the tone of what he said. Lee wrote this: 

The president said this:

“Israel has the right to go after Hamas… [but] Israel also has a fundamental responsibility, though, to protect innocent civilians in Gaza.”

“…This war has taken a greater toll on innocent civilians than all previous wars in Gaza combined. More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed. Most of whom are not Hamas.”

“…The United States has been leading international efforts to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Tonight, I’m directing the U.S. military to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast that can receive large ships carrying food, water, medicine and temporary shelters. No U.S. boots will be on the ground.”

Utah senators respond to Biden on border deal and SCOTUS

In two of the three videos he posted about the State of the Union, Lee also criticized President Biden for blaming a failed border deal at the feet of Republicans.

“[The President] trying to blame Republicans for not supporting a bill they don’t want to support, that wouldn’t solve the problem, when the one thing that it takes to solve the border crisis is, well, him,” said Senator Lee in one of the videos.

Lee is referring to a bill his fellow Senate Republicans negotiated with the Biden administration that would have included funding for the southern border, Ukraine and Israel. That deal failed in the Senate after House Republicans and former President Donald Trump expressed their opposition to the bill.

The senator also called it “wildly inappropriate” when President Biden spoke directly to the Supreme Court about their overturning of Roe v. Wade:

“With all due respect, Justices,” said Mr. Biden. “Women are not without… electoral or political power. You’re about to realize just how much…” At that point, cheers from the crowd drowned out Mr. Biden.

Senator Lee’s response:

Sen. Romney: “Not going to move the needle”

Sen. Mitt Romney gave the president mixed marks.

“Positive on foreign policy, pretty negative on domestic policy,” said Romney in a video posted to his website and official X account. “My own personal view is that what you saw tonight was a highly political speech, and it’s not going to move the needle,” 

For foreign policy, Romney said President Biden hit high notes when he emphasized continuing American support for Ukraine and Israel. He also gave Biden points for humanitarian aid for “Palestinian individuals in Gaza.”

The domestic policy points that drew Romney’s criticism related to the economy and President Biden’s jabs at Republicans.

“I’m afraid it was the same old liberal playbook, at least the way I saw it,” Romney said. “I mean there were some new chapters, but the same idea — ‘Here’s some things I’m going to give you, here’s some more things on me to give you, here’s how I’ve made a crackdown on big companies and rich people.”

Romney said many of those economic promises had no shot at becoming law because Republicans would not give their votes. He added that President Biden was “wrong” to accuse Republicans of supporting cuts to social security and baiting them with some of his comments.

Romney’s biggest problem with the speech:

“[President Biden] never really talked about how we’re going to deal with the deficit and the debt!”

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‘Disgusting’ and ‘highly political’: Utah senators respond to Biden’s State of the Union