Iowa governor slams Biden leadership in GOP rebuttal | Health
By THOMAS BEAUMONT – Associated Press
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, delivering the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, painted a picture of a country just emerging from a crisis and rather grappling with many as she hammered the president’s leadership, especially on the world stage.
Reynolds described Biden’s year in office as having ‘returned’ us to difficult times more than 40 years ago, as she argued for the ‘alternative’ approach of Republicans hoping to take control of Congress. in this year’s midterm elections.
“Instead of moving America forward, it feels like President Biden and his party have sent us back in time to the late 70s and early 80s, when runaway inflation was hammering families, that a wave of violent crime was descending on our cities and the Soviet military was trying to redraw the map of the world,” Reynolds said.
Republicans have hinted for months at two prongs of the three-sided broadside. But Reynolds’ criticism of Biden over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine signaled the party’s commitment to casting Biden and Democrats as weak world leaders, compounding their scathing criticism of the administration’s handling. of the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan last fall.
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“Even before he was sworn in, the president told us he wanted to ‘re-respect America around the world and unite us here at home.’ He failed on both fronts,” Reynolds said, speaking from the rooftop terrace of the historic Iowa building with the gold-domed Des Moines Capitol in the background.
Reynolds, whose foreign affairs experience is limited to overseas economic development missions, said “weakness on the world stage comes at a cost. And the president’s approach to foreign policy has always been too little, too late.
“And now Russia has launched an unprovoked full-scale military invasion of Ukraine, an attack on democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” she said.
The sweep goes straight to what had been a perceived strength of Biden, who brought to the White House eight years as vice president and decades of service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Reynolds’ defense of democracy, however, also comes as a congressional select committee has spent more than a year investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by activists loyal to the former president. Donald Trump who believed the Republicans’ lies – flatly rejected by state officials and the courts – that the 2020 election was stolen.
While Democrats have described the deadly Capitol siege as an attack on democracy, the Republican National Committee called the event last month “legitimate political speech.”
Reynolds used his 14-minute speech to portray the United States as being on the “wrong path” – mired in inflation, crime and moral decay, not emerging from the two years of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, she blamed inflation and rising energy prices on spending by Biden and the Democrats, who control Congress. “They kept going anyway, raising the price at the pump by 50% and pushing inflation to a 40-year high,” she said.
She also used her moment to portray herself as a Midwestern mom and grandmother — once a small-town grocery clerk — more in touch with everyday Americans than the Washington leaders, whom she described. as disconnected from the cultural concerns of the heart.
It’s those leaders in Washington, she argued, who are “part of a political class trying to remake this country into a place where a small elite tells everyone what they can and cannot. say, what she can and cannot believe”.
Last year, Reynolds signed a law banning controversial books and teachings, including lessons on systemic racism and white privilege, from schools.
Parents are “tired of politicians telling parents they should sit down, shut up and let the government control their children’s education and future,” she said.
“It seems like everything is upside down,” she said, describing Americans as “waiting for the madness to stop.”
Reynolds, a former lieutenant governor, has served as governor since 2017, when then-governor. Terry Branstad has been confirmed as the Trump administration’s ambassador to China. She was elected to her own term in 2018 and is expected to seek a second this year.
Reynolds, 62, has been a strong supporter of Trump in Iowa, campaigning with him ahead of the 2020 election when he carried Iowa for the second time. She also stood with Trump at a rally in Des Moines in October after he left office when he repeated lies that rampant voter fraud cost him a second term.
Although Reynolds didn’t echo the lies, she did back Trump.
“It’s not the same country as it was a year ago,” he said on Tuesday. “The President tried to paint a different picture tonight, but his actions over the past twelve months do not match the rhetoric. This is not what he promised when he took office.
Reynolds had endeared himself to Iowa’s increasingly pro-GOP electorate largely by opposing much of the Biden administration’s pandemic policy.
She resisted mask requirements and joined other states in lawsuits to fight the Biden administration’s vaccination mandates. She was also the first governor to require schools to resume in-person classes and has battled with some districts that have tried to pursue online learning recommended by public health officials to slow the spread of the virus.
“I was attacked by the left. I was attacked by the media. But it was not a difficult choice. It was the right choice,” she said.
Associated Press writer David Pitt contributed to this report.
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