In his State of the Union Address, Biden called for Unity

World | February 8, 2023, Wednesday // 08:46
Bulgaria: In his State of the Union Address, Biden called for Unity @PBS

In his upbeat State of the Union address, President Joe Biden touted America's surviving democracy and resurgent economy -- trying to convince skeptical voters that at 80, he still has what it takes to run for re-election.

Biden's address to Congress and tens of millions of television viewers was a chance for the Democrat, who is expected to announce his bid for a second term soon, to present his centrist and populist vision for a country recovering from the Covid pandemic and the upheavals of Donald's presidency Trump.

Referring to Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Biden said the United States had experienced "its greatest threat since the Civil War. Today, though wounded, our democracy remains steadfast and unbreakable," Biden said.

Biden highlighted rising employment data and told Americans his economic plan aims to rebuild the country's manufacturing base despite pressure from the war in Ukraine and disruption from the pandemic.

"We are in a better position right now than any other country on Earth," he said.

For decades, "manufacturing jobs were moving overseas, factories were closing," Biden said.

"Jobs are coming back. Our pride is coming back," he said. "This is my blue-collar rebuilding America project."

Among Biden's proposals in the speech was a new "billionaire tax" that he said aims to "reward labor, not just wealth."

The US president has criticized major oil companies, which he accused of making "scandalous" profits.

"I'm running for president to fundamentally change things, to make sure our economy works for everyone, so we can all be proud," Biden said.

Amid deep political divisions, Biden urged Republicans, who now hold a majority in the House of Representatives, to show unity - accusing some of them of holding the US economy "hostage" over the debt ceiling.

"Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict gets nowhere. And that's always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation," Biden said.

He called the climate crisis an "existential threat," noting that while the economy will still rely on oil and gas for the foreseeable future, he is "proud" that America is rising to the challenge.

"The climate crisis doesn't care if you're in a red state or a blue state. It's an existential threat. We have an obligation not to ourselves, but to our children and grandchildren to oppose it," Biden said.

The US president has called on the US Congress to pass reforms to hold police accountable for abuses and ban "once and for all" the use of dangerous assault weapons.

"We can't give up," Biden said, referring to Tyre Nichols, who died after being brutally beaten by police — and whose parents were guests of honor at the State of the Union address.

"Let's come together and get the job done on police reform," Biden said.

He pledged that the US would support Ukraine as long as necessary to repel the Russian invasion.

"We will support you however long it takes. Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, more peace - not just in Europe, but everywhere," Biden said, addressing Ukraine's ambassador to Washington, Oksana Markarova.

Biden said the US is ready to work with China but will protect US interests, days after he ordered the military to shoot down a Chinese intelligence balloon.

"Make no mistake: As we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to defend our country. And we have," he told Congress.

The American president threatened to veto any law banning abortion nationwide and called for women's reproductive rights and health to be guaranteed.

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