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5 Times Republicans Couldn’t Stop Heckling During Biden’s State Of The Union Speech

President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address was a raucous affair on Tuesday night, with Republicans in attendance regularly heckling, yelling and booing as he laid out his accomplishments and his vision for the nation.

It was a far cry from the “You lie!” incident of 2009, when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted at President Barack Obama during his address. The event was so remarkable that Wilson was formally admonished by the House.

But politics in 2023 is a different affair, with some Republican lawmakers making a national name for themselves as the loudest characters in the room. So what had the GOP up in arms?

Biden called out Republicans who want to cut retirement benefits.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), clad in a fluffy white coat, had the most notable outburst of the night, bellowing that Biden was a liar after he said some Republicans wanted to put the future of Social Security and Medicare at risk.

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“Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years,” the president said, referring to an unpopular but real proposal by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) to subject the programs to a process in which they would end unless Congress voted to renew them.

“Liar!” Greene shouted as other Republicans yelled “No!” from their seats.

Some Republicans have already signaled that they’d like to cut aspects of Social Security and Medicare with their new, albeit slim, majority in the House. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has backed away from the idea in recent weeks, saying the party “won’t touch” the programs.

The president said almost a quarter of the national debt was wracked up under Trump.

Biden spoke about his plan to close loopholes that allow wealthy Americans and companies to avoid paying taxes, saying his administration was working toward fiscal responsibility. He took a direct swing at the Trump era, saying the nation’s debt skyrocketed under the former president.

“No president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor,” Biden said Tuesday. “Nearly 25% of the entire national debt, that took over 200 years to accumulate, was added by one administration alone. “They’re the facts. Check it out.”

It’s true (with some caveats), but Republicans were not happy.

Biden spoke to a father whose daughter died of a fentanyl overdose.

The White House invited Doug Griffin, a parent from New Hampshire, as a guest to the State of the Union address. Griffin’s daughter, Courtney, died of a fentanyl overdose in 2014, a tragedy the father described as the worst pain in his life.

Biden said he wanted the U.S. to launch a major effort to combat fentanyl production and trafficking.

Republicans in the audience, angered over Biden’s policies immigration policies at the Mexican border, used the anecdote as a platform for admonishment, shouting: “Your fault!”

McCarthy appeared to shush his colleagues after the interaction.

Biden spoke about China.

The president spoke about his dealings with China on Tuesday, just days after the U.S. shot down a Chinese balloon believed to have been on a spying mission over the U.S. Biden said he was committed to working with China but vowed to “act to protect our country” if Beijing threatens American sovereignty.

The remarks prompted an outburst from Greene and another shush from McCarthy.

He addressed border security.

The president said his administration had worked diligently to secure the southern border, tying in efforts to address the spread of fentanyl and combat unlawful migration into the country. He then urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for those who arrived in the U.S. as children and for other undocumented immigrants.

“Here in the people’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms,” Biden said.

Republicans hollered, and McCarthy shushed once more.

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