Biden Congress speech: President says he took on ‘nation in crisis’ in dig at Trump as he sells tax-and-spend splurge – The Sun

JOE Biden had a dig at Donald Trump saying he took on a "nation in crisis", as he unveiled his tax-and-spend splurge during his first speech to Congress.

The President – who did not mention Trump directly in his speech – drew criticism for saying the January 6 riots were the "worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War".

In swipe at his predecessor he told lawmakers: "We have stared into the abyss of insurrection and autocracy."

The President said he inherited a "nation in crisis" as he pitched his $2 trillion "America Jobs Plan," which he described as the largest infrastructure program since World War II.

"One hundred days since I took the oath of office—lifted my hand off our family Bible—and inherited a nation in crisis," he said.

"The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

"One hundred days ago, America's house was on fire. We had to act."


But the President's description of the Capitol riots prompted a backlash across social media.

Some Twitter users were quick to point out other historical events that, they felt, were much more severe attacks on U.S. democracy.

The examples included the September 11 terrorist attacks, presidential assassinations, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Journalist Glen Greenwald tweeted: "January 6 was worse than 9/11? Or Pearl Harbor?"

He continued in a second tweet: "Or the Oklahoma City bombing? Or the dismantling of civil liberties in the name of the Cold War and War on Terror? Or the mass surveillance program secretly and illegally implemented by NSA aimed at US citzens (sic)?"

Greenwald, dubbing Biden a "drama queen" then added: "How about the War on Drugs, mass incarceration and Jim Crow? Were those worse "attacks on democracy" than the 3-hour Capitol riot on Jan. 6?


Senator Ted Cruz appeared to be fighting back sleep as President Biden gave his first formal address to Congress.

The moment took place more than an hour into Biden's speech, when the camera cut to the Texas senator as the president spoke about his plans for immigration reform.

Biden said: "If you actually want to solve a problem, I've sent a bill. Take a close look at it."

It was at this point that the camera focused on Cruz, whose eyes shut for a brief moment before suddenly snapping open.

Twitter users were quick to take aim at the Republican from Texas – many focusing on the February backlash against Cruz, who took a trip to Mexico while his state was hit by a heavy winter storm.

"Ted Cruz is sleeping as soundly now as he did in the Ritz Carlton while Texans were freezing to death," one user wrote.

Earlier in the day, the Biden administration released the second part of its economic plan, which proposes $1.8 trillion in new spending that will focus on American families.

The announcement comes after the administration released the first part of its spending plan in late March – a $2.3 trillion package that would focus on infrastructure spending.

It is these two topics – infrastructure and American families – that would form the backbone of the President's speech, focusing on an economic safety net, education and the government-created jobs.


Biden says his enormous spending plans would be financed by higher taxes on the richest Americans but faces a divided Congress.

"Good to be back," the president began, as the majority of chamber gave him a round of applause.

The speech started on an optimist note, with Biden declaring "I can report to the nation, America is on the move again."

From there, Biden moved swiftly to address vaccine hesitancy and use what is likely to be his biggest television audience this year to appeal to Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The first 100 days have been about "rescue and renewal," Biden said, adding that he promised 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 days, whereas 200 million shots have actually be administered in that time.

"Go get vaccinated, America," Biden added.


From there, the president looked to pitch his $2 trillion "America Jobs Plan," which he described as the largest infrastructure program since World War II.

These jobs, Biden said, would be aimed not a college-educated citizens, but at "blue-collar blueprint to build back America."

"Wall Street didn't build this country," Biden said after addressing topics such as reducing lead in water, providing internet access to rural Americans, rebuilding the electrical grid, and framing climate change as a means of creating jobs.

"The middle class built this country," he said, "And unions built the middle class."


This declaration was followed for calls to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and to build up union support.

He also promoted his latest "American Families Plan" – a huge, $1.8 trillion tax-and-spend proposal that would include more than $500 billion for education and $225 billion for childcare.

This was accompanied by a promise not to raise taxes on Americans earning less that $400,000 a year.

“20 million Americans lost their jobs in the pandemic,” Biden said, while “the roughly 650 billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion.”

He added: “It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.”

Attendance at Wednesday's speech was limited by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, due to ongoing concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The typical crowd for such a speech would be around 1,100; whereas Pelosi was forced to cap attendees to just 200.

Usually, First Lady Jill Biden would have hosted guests in a special box, but she was left socially distanced from others, rising to applaud her husband throughout.

Despite appearing to bash Trump indirectly, Biden also turned to another familiar talking point from his presidency and presidential run: reaching across the aisle.

The president insisted he is open to negotiations with Republicans on his jobs plan, but "Doing nothing is not an option."

This, however, was followed by a shot at Trumps 2017 tax cuts and trickle-down economics – policies that have remained popular amongst Republicans.

Wednesday's night's speech was the first time in American history that the two officials standing behind the president during such an event were women.

Biden, who served in Congress for 36 years, stood in front of Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as he addressed the nation.

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