Biden defends record at state of the union, hits Republicans on border security, abortion rights

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday March 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON, DC (WOAY) – President Biden delivered the 2024 State of the Union address to a divided nation and Congress tonight, speaking for almost an hour and half at length on pressing issues and his vision for America’s future.

He delivered his remarks as his approval rating hovers just below 40% and he faces an almost certain rematch with former President Trump this fall, who himself is facing legal challenge after legal challenge.

In many ways, President Biden’s task was to challenge Congress and the American people to unite and solve the country’s problems.

In his words, he needed to “wake up this Congress and alert the American people that this is no ordinary moment.”

“Not since President Lincoln and the Civil War have freedom and democracy been under assault here at home as they are today,” Biden said. “What makes our moment rare is that freedom and democracy are under attack, both at home and overseas, at the very same time.”

During a lengthy walk-up, he spoke with numerous members of the House, Senate, and his own administration.

One person he spoke to was West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

President Joe Biden, center, arrives to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Washington. (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP)

He began his speech by addressing the war in Ukraine and Russia’s aggression, asking Congress to continue to fund war efforts in Ukraine.

He also defended his record on the economy, saying he has slashed inflation and created hundreds of thousands of jobs.

He also proposed a $5,000 credit for new homeowners.

As expected, he criticized House Republicans for their rejection of a bipartisan bill that would have addressed problems at the border.

Without saying him by name, President Biden criticized former President Trump, saying the bill was derailed by him.

“I’m told my predecessor called Republicans in Congress and demanded they block the bill. He feels it would be a political win for me and a political loser for him,” Biden said. “The Border Patrol Union endorsed the bill. The Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bill. I believe that given the opportunity a majority of the House and Senate would endorse it as well.”

He spoke about the murder of Laken Riley, the Augusta University student allegedly murdered a Venezuelan immigrant by deviating from the official speech written ahead of time and referencing a button possibly handed to him by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green and worn by Republicans in attendance.

“Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal. That’s right,” Biden said. “But how many thousands of people being killed by illegals? To her parents I say, my heart goes out to you having lost children myself.”

President Joe Biden holds up a Laken Riley button as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday March 7, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

He also spoke about the overturn of Roe vs Wade directly in front of the Supreme Court Justices who overturned it, saying that he would support its codification if Congress were to pass the necessary legislation.

“America cannot go back. I am here tonight to show the way forward. Because I know how far we’ve come,” Biden said.

He wrapped up the speech by centering on his age, joking that he was used to being told that he was too young, based on his early life experience as a public defender, city councilman, and senator.

Further, he said the real danger are old values still lurking in America.

“My fellow Americans, the issue facing our nation isn’t how old we are, it’s how old our ideas are. Hate, anger, revenge, retribution are among the oldest of ideas. But you can’t lead America with ancient ideas that only take us back,” Biden said. “To lead America, the land of possibilities, you need a vision for the future of what America can and should be. Tonight you’ve heard mine.”

President Joe Biden arrives for the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 7, 2024, in Washington, as Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., watch. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

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