Romney Responds to the President’s State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) made the following comments after President Biden’s State of the Union address. 

A transcript of Senator Romney’s remarks are below.

Well, I just got back from listening to the State of the Union address by President Biden. I was in the chamber, as you may know.

I think on foreign policy, he did a good job. It is very much in America’s interest to see Ukraine push back against Putin. Putin is an awful guy—a bad guy—and keeping Putin from invading not just other parts of Central Europe, but NATO nations that might involve us in conflict is an American interest [is important]. He also spoke, I thought, well, with regards to Israel and also with regards to the need to help the Palestinian individuals in Gaza with humanitarian aid. So those things I thought went well.

When he got into domestic policy, I’m afraid it was the same old liberal playbook. At least that’s the way I saw it. I mean, there were some new chapters, but the same idea, which is “here’s some things I’m going to give you. Here’s some more things I’m going to give you. Here’s how I’m going to crack down on big companies and rich people.” And I think people have gotten tired of that. They know he can’t deliver all those promises because any promise he makes has to get Republican votes.

And he’s not going to get Republican votes for those things. And I think they also know that the cheap shots on Republicans are probably missing the mark. You know, he once again claimed Republicans are going to cut Social Security. That’s just simply wrong, and everybody knows that. There’s not a Republican in the House or the Senate that is talking about cutting Social Security, or is in favor of cutting Social Security. That’s just off the mark. Likewise, he said, you know, billionaires pay an average tax rate of 8%. That’s just wrong. The IRS publishes the tax pay amount by category. The top one tenth of 1% pays a substantial percentage of their income. So, you know, I think those things missed the mark.

I think the greatest mistake was that he really never talked about how we’re going to deal with the deficit and the debt—and the debt is enormous. It poses a threat to us. The interest payments are now going to exceed this year our military spending. This is a problem. And, you know, a couple of quick things. We’re going to get corporations to pay, you know, a certain amount. We’re going to try and raise taxes on billionaires. Those things aren’t going to happen, and they’re not realistic. 

So, I was disappointed he didn’t get more serious about the deficit and the debt. But then again, Democrats don’t like to do that. They want to make a lot of promises and never talk about how they’re going to pay for it. So positive on foreign policy, pretty negative on domestic policy. My own view is that what you saw tonight was a highly political speech, and it’s not going to move the needle.