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State of the Union: Biden rebukes Putin, praises brave Ukrainians, offers ‘unity agenda’

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(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden tonight delivered his first State of the Union address with a main theme of how the U.S. is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As he spoke, Russian strikes were killing civilians, forces were massing near Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed no sign of backing down.

Here is how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Check back for updates.

 

Mar 01, 11:29 pm
Iowa Gov. Reynolds delivers GOP response

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds criticized Biden for leading the country on the “wrong track” with his foreign and domestic agenda in her GOP response to his State of the Union address.

“Even before taking the oath of office, the president told us that he wanted to ‘make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.’ He’s failed on both fronts,” she said.
Reynolds attacked Biden on his administration’s foreign affair policies, inflation and handling of the border. “They’ve refused to protect you,” she said.

Reynolds touted her conservative leadership in schools as a launch pad into Republican talking points on parental rights when it comes to children’s education.

“It was the right choice and keeping schools open is only the start of the pro-parent, pro-family revolution that Republicans are leading in Iowa and states across this country,” she said. “Republicans believe that parents matter. It was true before the pandemic and it has never been more important to say out loud, parents matter.”

ABC News’ Lalee Ibssa

Mar 01, 11:13 pm
‘The state of the union is strong, because of you’: Biden concludes speech with optimistic outlook

Biden ended his State of the Union speech with an optimistic perspective.

“The State of the Union is strong, because you, the American people, are strong,” he said. “I know there is simply nothing beyond our capacity.”

Biden reiterated that America has turned every crisis it faced into an opportunity. He said he was confident the country would meet any new challenge that arises.

“We are stronger today than we were a year ago,” the president said. “And we will be stronger a year from now than we are today.”

 

Mar 01, 11:10 pm
Rep. Lauren Boebert booed after she yells out at moment Biden mentions his dead son

In an ill-timed moment, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., shouted at the president, blaming him for the deaths of the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed in an attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan last summer, as Biden spoke about veterans exposed to burn pits developing “cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin.”

“You put them in, 13 of them!” she yelled.

But her words came out just as the president was about to mention the death of his son, Beau Biden, an Iraq War veteran who died from brain cancer in 2015.

“I know,” Biden began, attempting to reference Beau. But before he could get the sentence out Boebert shouted.

The members in the chamber immediately booed her.

“One of those soldiers was my son, Major Beau Biden,” the president continued. “I don’t know for sure if the burn pit that he lived near, that his hooch was near in Iraq and earlier than that, in Kosovo is the cause of his brain cancer, the diseases of so many other troops. But I am committed to finding out everything we can.”

Boebert later addressed the moment on Twitter, saying, “When Biden said flag draped coffins I couldn’t stay silent. I told him directly he did it. He put 13 in there. Our heroic servicemen and women deserve so much better.”

ABC News’ Mariam Khan

 

Mar 01, 10:43 pm
Justice Breyer in spotlight

Biden took a few moments to thank retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer for his service on the bench and asked the justice to stand and be recognized.

Breyer has been one of the most loyal attendees of State of the Union addresses over the past 20 years — and tonight he was clearly touched by the presidential tribute.

Biden then immediately pivoted to his nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill that seat.
“Since she’s been nominated, she’s received a broad range of support,” Biden said.

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer and Justin Gomez

 

Mar 01, 10:32 pm
Moving forward safely in the pandemic

On the pandemic, Biden outlined four “common-sense” steps the U.S. is taking to “move forward safely”:

1. Vaccines and treatments: “We will never give up on vaccinating more Americans,” Biden said. He also discussed progress on anti-viral treatments and announced a “test to treat” initiative for COVID-positive Americans to obtain Pfizer pills free of charge.
He also announced that starting next week Americans would be able to order even more free rapid tests at.

2. Preparing for new variants: Biden said instead of months or years, we’ll be able to deploy new vaccines “within 100 days.”

3. Ending shutdowns: Biden stressed the importance of people working in offices safely and keeping schools open. “The vast majority of federal workers will once again work in person. Our schools are open. Let’s keep it that way,” he said.

4. Vaccinating the world: Biden said the U.S. has so far sent 475 million vaccine doses worldwide, “and we won’t stop.”

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