Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered a combative speech in response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, drawing a sharp contrast with Biden as she delivered a series of blistering criticisms of the president.
Sanders called Biden “unfit to serve as commander in chief,” saying his “weakness puts our nation and the world at risk,” and painted a bleak picture of the political landscape. “In America, the dividing line is no longer between right and left. “It’s either normal or crazy,” she explained.
Sanders sought to highlight a generational gap with Biden, saying, “At 40, I’m the country’s youngest governor, and at 80, he’s the oldest president in American history.” In her speech, she also stated that “it is time for a new generation of Republican leadership.”
After the president highlighted his priorities and agenda to the nation in his speech, Sanders was given a major national platform to speak to the country and counter Biden.
Sanders rose to national prominence as former President Donald Trump’s press secretary, serving as a staunch defender of the then-President and his policies while frequently clashing with national reporters.
She made history as Arkansas’s first female governor last year. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, was governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007.
The State of the Union address this year was delivered with Republicans newly in control of the House, a position of power that the GOP is using to launch congressional oversight investigations into the Biden administration.
“In Washington, under the leadership of Senate Republicans and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, we will hold the Biden administration accountable,” Sanders said, referring to the nation’s capital’s new political order.
Sanders also used the speech to highlight her time in Trump’s administration and her friendship with the former president.
“I travelled on every foreign trip with the president during my two and a half years at the White House,” she said, adding that she “will never forget” a trip on December 25, 2018.
“They had absolutely no idea that the president and first lady were about to walk into that room,” she said, saying that when that happened, “the room erupted. Men and women of every race, religion, and region, every political party, and every demographic imaginable began chanting in perfect unison, “USA, USA, USA.”
“It was an absolutely perfect picture of what makes our country great,” she reflected.
After being sworn in as governor, Sanders issued a flurry of executive orders, including one prohibiting the use of the term “Latinx” in official state documents and another targeting critical race theory “to prohibit indoctrination” in schools.
“We will educate our children, not indoctrinate them, and put them on a path to success,” she said as she discussed education policy.
Republican congressional leaders McCarthy and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier this month that Sanders would deliver their party’s response to the State of the Union address.
“Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the youngest Governor in the nation and a powerful advocate for the popular, commonsense conservative principles that will put our country back on track,” McConnell said in a statement.
In a statement, McCarthy called Sanders a “servant-leader of true determination and conviction,” and said she will share a “bold vision for a better America” on Tuesday. Everyone, including President Biden, should pay close attention.”