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US President Joe Biden delivers his second State of the Union address on Tuesday evening in the face of a divided Congress. Follow the evening live.
He wants to “finish the job”: Joe Biden, who plans to run for re-election in 2024, will deliver a message to Congress on Tuesday, February 7, with a message of political “unity”, of support for the “forgotten” of growth and of confidence in the American democracy, according to him “bruised” but “preserved”.
“The history of America is a history of progress and resilience,” the US president will say, according to excerpts from his “State of the Union address” broadcast in advance by the White House.
On this major annual general policy address, through which any American president fulfills his constitutional obligation to inform Congress, the prospect of the presidential election of 2024 already hovers. And therefore of a return match between Joe Biden, not yet officially in the race, and his predecessor Donald Trump.
Already in the campaign, the Republican billionaire presents himself as a providential man, the only one capable of saving America from a general “decline”.
The former president wants to capitalize on the real depression of the world’s leading power. A CBS/YouGov poll asked Americans to choose the term that accurately describes the “state” of their country. The first that comes to mind? “Divided” (62%), ahead of “decline” (49%) and “weak” (41%). Far behind: “strong” (13%), “prosperous” (11%) and “united” (10%).
On Tuesday, Joe Biden wants to give himself the role of chief optimist. He will ensure that American democracy, although “bruised” as the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump showed, remains “preserved and inviolate.”
Faced with the ambient slump, the 80-year-old Democrat, burdened by his age and by generally calamitous polls, still hopes to rally Americans to his economic project. He will promise Tuesday to work for the “forgotten” of growth. “Too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible,” the Democrat will say.
Tax the very rich
“Middle class Joe”, as he likes to call himself, will call for heavier taxes on the very rich and big corporations that spoil their shareholders.
A centrist at heart, Joe Biden will also call for Democrats and Republicans to work together. To the conservative opposition, now mistress of one of the chambers of Congress, he will say: “Conflict for conflict’s sake leads nowhere.”
The Democrat claims to be able to “finish the job”, by concretizing the promises which carried him to the White House: to heal the “soul” of America, “to rebuild” the middle class and “unify the country”.
This message of confidence and unity will fall flat with the Conservatives, who have already engaged in a tough parliamentary battle, particularly on budgetary issues.
One of the unknowns of the evening will also be the behavior during the speech of the parliamentarians of the radical right, who rose to power during the mandate of Donald Trump, and whose certain figures, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, now play a key role in the Congress.
Like last year – he came before Congress a few days after the invasion of Ukraine – geopolitical perils will play an important role in Joe Biden’s speech. He will want to praise his role as the architect of the Western response to Russia.
Chinese balloon and police violence
But the American president will be especially expected on China: the affair of the Chinese balloon shot down on Saturday after flying over American territory for several days earned him criticism of weakness on the right.
Joe Biden will also want to address topics likely to mobilize the Democratic electorate, which according to polls does not want to see him return to the campaign.
The White House guest list provides some insight. Will be present the parents of Tyre Nichols, a young African-American man who died after being beaten by police in Memphis; a lesbian couple; and a Texas woman who nearly died from a miscarriage after doctors refused to treat her for fear of violating a law restricting abortion.