Meridian Star

State delegation responds to State of the Union

By Thomas Howard

Mississippi representatives and senators weighed in after President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address Tuesday.

In a statement, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith criticized Biden’s address as “rhetoric” and pointed to rising inflation, violent crime and immigration as examples of “failed stewardship.”

“Tonight is not an evening for celebration. We all want our nation to be strong and prosperous, but the American people know the reality—that we are all paying for President Biden’s bad policies and misjudgments over the past year,” she said. “No amount of rhetoric will convince the American people that things are better for us since President Biden took office.”

On the national security front, Hyde-Smith issued sharp criticism for the withdrawal of Afghanistan, which she said weakened America’s standing.

“Regarding our national security, the American people are also right to be concerned that President Biden’s leadership is weakening the United States’ standing on the global stage,” she said. “Clearly, the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer emboldened adversaries like Russia and China. That tragic embarrassment could have given Vladimir Putin more confidence to invade Ukraine—it certainly didn’t deter him, just as the mere threats of sanctions didn’t stop his evil assault on Ukraine.”

Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker also shared his thoughts on national security in remarks released shortly before Biden’s speech. The Afghanistan withdrawal, he said, projected weakness and emboldened authoritarian leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“There's no getting around the signal that we've sent to the rest of the world. The way we withdrew, the way we handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan was an absolute debacle and an embarrassment on the worldwide stage. And it sent a signal to people like Vladimir Putin in Moscow and President Xi in Beijing and others around the world…,” he said. “It sent a signal of weakness that we can't handle our own foreign responsibilities, and so it's no surprise that Vladimir Putin decided to test us and our allies with this war in Ukraine.”

On immigration and inflation, Wicker said rising costs for millions of Americans and an influx of refugees at the southern border were both predictable and avoidable. Biden’s administration, he said, were warned their policies would have negative results but forged ahead regardless.

“Not only did we say as Republicans this would cause inflation, but Larry Summers, for example, Secretary of the Treasury under the Obama Administration, warned against this, cautioned against this, and said it would be inflationary,” he said. “So it is no wonder that we're suffering from inflation.”

Rep. Michael Guest, who represents Mississippi's Third Congressional District, didn’t wait until the State of the Union was over to respond. Taking to Twitter, Guest demanded an end to the United States’ reliance on Russian oil in response to Biden’s comments on Ukraine.

“No more Russian oil. President Biden must commit to increasing domestic production,” Guest tweeted.

Guest also responded via Twitter to Biden’s call to address America’s overwhelmed immigration system.

“President Biden promised to work to secure the border tonight. That starts with supporting our law enforcement agents working along the border,” he tweeted.

Mississippi’s lone Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson, also shared his response to the State of the Union address on Twitter.

“A great first SOTU speech from President Biden,” he tweeted. “Thank you for all your hard work!”