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Biden’s SOTU exposes Democratic Party divisions

President Biden’s State of the Union address is bringing into glaring view the deepening rift within the Democratic Party after several Democrats called out Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., for her planned response.

The president is expected to promote unity both at home and abroad Tuesday night as Russia continues its deadly invasion of Ukraine and U.S. inflation soars to record highs. 


An unintended focal point will be the contrast between moderate Democrats and progressives just nine months out from the midterm elections, after Tlaib ruffled the feathers of multiple fellow Democrats by announcing she’ll be giving a response to Biden’s historic speech.

Tlaib, a member of the so-called “Squad” of progressive Democratic lawmakers in Congress, announced last week that she will give her address on behalf of the left-wing Working Families Party.

“Democrats giving a response to democratic President SOTU…priceless,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweeted Monday, including a photo of a name tag that read, “Hello, my name is Captain Oblivious.”

“It’s like keying your own car and slashing your own tires,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., told Axios. “This only highlights the real tension between the socialist far left and the common-sense moderate wing, which is focused on crime, costs, tax cuts and affordability, and turning the page on COVID.”

“In times of crisis, we should all stand by our president,” Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, told Axios. “It is astonishing that the radical left continues to promote a Democratic death wish, and sees no problem relegating our party to the permanent minority.”

Tlaib even caught flak from liberal comedian Bill Maher, who said her response is “like sacking your own quarterback.”

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., speaks as Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., listens during a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 14, 2021.

Tlaib said her speech will be supportive of Biden and his Build Back Better agenda, a multitrillion-dollar social spending bill that was blocked by Republicans and moderate Democrats.

“Despite some sensational coverage, it’s simple: I’m giving a speech about supporting President Biden and his Build Back Better agenda for the people,” Tlaib tweeted. “Look past the headlines & hear progressives’ vision for working with the President & Congress to deliver for our residents.”

“You will hear about India, a mother in my district who benefited from the child tax credit expansion,” she added. “About the urgency to breathe clean air and drink clean water. The hope for a future where access to housing isn’t this hard. This is about the people who are hurting w/o BBB.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., walks up the House steps for a vote in the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. 

The president is expected to deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will deliver the Republican Party’s rebuttal.

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