The president delivered a spirited State of the Union that attempted to deflect concerns about his age. His detractors still found stuff to complain about.

For Democrats, Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Thursday night was proof the 81-year-old president is alive, well and able to deliver an energetic 70-minute speech to a joint session of Congress. But to some Republicans who’ve called him everything shy of a walking corpse, Biden’s election-year address to the nation was too vigorous.

“THIS IS LIKE A SHOUTING MATCH, EVERY LINE IS BEING SHOUTED,” former President Donald Trump roared on Truth Social during Biden’s speech — which, save for one glaring exception, were on-message and relatively blunder-free.

“Wow! They over medicated him! Angry, confused, and yelling,” tweeted Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), reflecting the right-wing spin on Biden’s remarks. (Jackson, the White House physician for Trump, might know something about overmedicating, according to allegations from White House staff.)

Disgraced former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who was booted from the House in a historic vote over alleged ethics violations but is apparently now planning a comeback — called Biden “a weak, frail president” who delivered “spin and lies to the American people from inside the chambers.”

The president was, indeed, letting it rip Thursday night. He was loud. He yelled a bit. He shot back at his hecklers, including a boisterous Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Republicans who booed him when he talked about immigration and taxes. He was also in his element after the speech, gabbing with lawmakers, taking selfies and even promising to call a representative’s mom. The general consensus from much of the chattering class was that Biden exceeded expectations, even if a solid State of the Union address doesn’t produce much of an electoral bump.

Biden managed to touch on his age toward the end of his remarks in a somewhat self-deprecating way.

“Let me close with this,” the president said. “I know I may not look like it, but I’ve been around awhile, and when you get to my age, certain things become clearer than ever before.”

Biden did what some pundits have prescribed and attempted to tackle the issue directly, spinning it as a matter of wisdom and not vitality.

“I know the American story. Again and again, I’ve seen the contest between competing forces in the battle for the soul of our nation,” Biden said, returning to the theme of a 2022 speech on threats to democracy.

“Now some other people my age see a different story. An American story of resentment, revenge and retribution. That’s not me.”

President Biden engages with hecklers during his speech Thursday night to a joint session of Congress.
President Biden engages with hecklers during his speech Thursday night to a joint session of Congress.
Shawn Thew/Pool/Associated Press

Biden’s comments were a subtle nod to Trump, who has vowed to make a second term about “retribution” for his followers — to whom he delivered a moment-by-moment analysis of Biden’s address, at one point sharing a video of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris with a bug-eye filter.

“THE DRUGS ARE WEARING OFF!” Trump wrote on Truth Social roughly halfway through. A minute later: “THE COUGHING, THE COUGHING - ALWAYS THE COUGHING!”

Trump’s campaign was clearly irritated with the mostly positive reviews of Biden’s speech.

“Every reporter who described Crooked Joe Biden as ‘fiery’ in his State of the Union speech is completely in the tank for the Democrats,” Trump advisor Jason Miller wrote on X. “He was ‘crazed.’ Biden was extremely partisan, bitter, unhinged, yelling, arguing with those in attendance, and unable to walk or talk properly. You know who you are!”

And in his final assessment of the night, Trump wrote: “That may be the Angriest, Least Compassionate, and Worst State of the Union Speech ever made. It was an Embarrassment to our Country!”

Popular in the Community


What's Hot