Sen. Britt Hits Biden on Border in GOP SOTU Rebuttal

Samantha Flom
By Samantha Flom
March 8, 2024Congress
Sen. Britt Hits Biden on Border in GOP SOTU Rebuttal
U.S. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) speaks at a press conference on border security at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Dec. 7, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) followed up President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 7 by stating that it was time for a change in leadership at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

“The true, unvarnished State of our Union begins and ends with this: Our families are hurting. Our country can do better,” Ms. Britt said in delivering the GOP’s response to the president’s remarks from her kitchen in Alabama.

As for how the country could do better, the freshman senator started off by pointing to the ongoing crisis at the southern border, over which millions of illegal immigrants have crossed since the president took office.

“President Biden inherited the most secure border of all-time. But minutes after taking office, he suspended all deportations, he halted construction of the border wall, and he announced a plan to give amnesty to millions,” she said.

“We know that President Biden didn’t just create this border crisis. He invited it with 94 executive actions in his first 100 days. … President Biden’s border crisis is a disgrace. It’s despicable. And it’s almost entirely preventable.”

As an example, Ms. Britt shared the tragic story of a Texas woman who had been sex-trafficked at the age of 12 by the Mexican drug cartels. She also cited the recent murder of Augusta University student Laken Riley, whose name President Biden flubbed in his speech.

“This beautiful 22-year-old nursing student went out on a jog one morning but she never got the opportunity to return home. She was brutally murdered by one of the millions of illegal border-crossers President Biden chose to release into our homeland. … And tonight, President Biden finally said her name, but he refused to take responsibility for his own actions.”

Holding the president responsible for the deaths of Ms. Riley and other victims, the senator called on him to reverse his policies “and stop the suffering.”

Ms. Britt also hit President Biden hard the economy, his status as a “permanent politician,” and his mental fitness for office.

“Right now, our Commander in Chief is not in command,” she said. “The free world deserves better than a dithering and diminished leader. America deserves leaders who recognize that secure borders, stable prices, safe streets, and a strong defense are the cornerstones of a great nation.”

And with those leaders in the driver’s seat, she said, the ship can be turned around.

Biden Heckled Over Immigration

President Biden delivered an energetic, though at times cantankerous speech punctuated by interactions with hecklers in the audience.

He touched on a wide range of topics, including reproductive issues, the economy, foreign wars, and immigration.

On that last topic, he got into a heated exchange with Republicans who booed when he mentioned the failed Senate deal to tie funding for border security to aid for Ukraine and other foreign countries.

“Oh, you don’t like that?” the president responded to the interruption. “The conservatives got together and said it was a good bill. I’ll be darned. That’s amazing.”

The deal, which passed the Senate, would have authorized $20 billion in funds for immigration enforcement, but those funds paled in comparison to the more than $60 billion it would have provided for Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia.

Many Republicans rejected the package for not being tough enough on illegal immigration, killing the bill’s chances of being taken up in the House.

President Biden, however, said he believed it would have passed if former President Donald Trump, his top rival for the presidency, had not convinced Republicans to block it.

Those comments drew the ire of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who interjected to demand that he say Ms. Riley’s name.

The president attempted to say it, though he used the wrong name and called her “Lincoln Riley.” He then made a comment that appeared to be an acknowledgment that people are being killed by illegal immigrants.

“Lincoln Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal, that’s right. But how many thousands of people are being killed by illegals?”

While he added that his “heart goes out to” Ms. Riley’s parents, he went on to contend that the Senate deal would have shortened the claims processing times for asylum applicants and ultimately deterred more people from coming.

‘A Smart Decision’

Ms. Britt’s selection to deliver the GOP’s response speaks volumes about the level of respect she has earned from her peers after just one year in the Senate.

And that respect is not partisan. In the short time since her 2022 election, she has come to be highly regarded by those on both sides of the political aisle, which she has demonstrated no unwillingness to reach across.

That bipartisanship has resulted in close friendships with fellow freshmen Sens. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

When Mr. Welch learned that his good friend had been tapped to deliver her party’s State of the Union rebuttal, he had two thoughts: “One, I feel very good for her, and I think she’ll do a great job. And I’m very disappointed that the Republicans made such a smart decision.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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