Biden Speaks On Russia-Ukraine Conflict, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Is Biden in over his head?

President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union Address saw the President slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, pivoting to typical spending proposals, and touting his accomplishments. Most of his unbalanced speech garnered applause from Democrats, while Republicans had their expected disparaging gaze.

Biden led the more than hour-long speech with foreign policy, the first President to do that since former President George W. Bush. During this segment of the speech, Biden expressed concerns he had about Putin escalating the intensity of attacks on Ukraine before announcing a ban on Russian planes in U.S. airspace.

The President chose to defend his ally-coordinated handling of the Russia-Ukraine conflict before espousing his usual democracy-versus-autocracy remarks, linking the conflict in Ukraine with domestic ones.

Biden also shared words of encouragement to the people of Ukraine, stating that “Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks, but he will never gain the hearts and souls of the Ukrainian people… He will never extinguish their love of freedom. He will never weaken the resolve of the free world.”

The President also vowed to seize “ill-begotten” assets of Russia’s oligarchy before offering reassurances that the American people would “be OK,” a phrase he repeated several times.
In welcomed news, the President also revealed the administration would release 30 million oil barrels from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves to offset rising gas prices.

The purpose of Biden’s first State of the Union is clear: improve the President’s approval ratings by resetting his administration reputation and appealing to the more than 27 million viewers who tune in to watch the SOTU.

It’s an objective that can be accomplished given the speech 一 which only had one noticeable gaffe when the President mentioned Iranians rather than Ukrainians 一 was coherent and strong.

The joint sitting of Congress was also predominantly a maskless affair, as states and Congress changed their rules following the latest guidelines released by the CDC. However, Biden did point out that because this is a virus that mutates and spreads, we will stay on guard.”