What Marjorie Taylor Greene, other State of the Union hecklers yelled


Midway through the State of the Union address, the room erupted into hysteria when some Republican lawmakers began heckling President Biden. Some pointed to his position in the center of the House chamber. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) stood up and shouted at him: “Liar!”

It was a remarkable display of partisan animosity, reflecting the challenges gripping a deeply divided Washington. And it clearly demonstrated Green’s strength as leader of the Outburst Caucus — and the struggle he has in controlling House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s behavior, let alone his conference votes.

Hours before the speech, McCarthy (Calif.) and other Republican leaders told lawmakers during their weekly conference meeting that all eyes would be on them when Biden made his remarks, according to people in the meeting room who discussed this condition. Anonymity to discuss it freely.

The guidance echoes a similar message sent by Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.): “The cameras are always on and the microphones are always hot.” Before the speech, Republicans had not expected any outrage, and McCarthy said Monday that he would not tear up the president’s speech the way then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did to President Donald Trump. what happened to

But about 40 minutes into his speech, Biden turned to one of the most controversial current topics facing Congress. Halfway through a speech that was frank and cheerful — and had more than a hint of brashness — he looked to the Republicans sitting in the chamber to his left and pointed out the specificity of their approach to cutting the budget. Reprimanded them for their lack of

He said his decisions under Trump increased the national debt more than any other president, encouraging Republicans.

“Those are the facts!” Biden responded. “Check it out. Check it out!”

It was one of the few moments in which he was mocked in the chamber, and he seemed to relish the open exchange that began in the House chamber and played on national television. McCarthy, sitting directly behind Biden and facing the cameras, appeared to silence his colleagues several times.

As Biden mentioned potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare — and how some Republican-backed proposals could lead to cuts in entitlement programs — he sparked one of the night’s most disruptive moments. What, and loud protests that had long been put off. The speech was launched.

Green stood up, snapped his finger, and shouted at Biden: “Liar!” Others followed. It was one of several outbursts by Greene, who interrupted Biden’s speech by shouting, “China is spying on us!” And later, “Secure the border!”

Biden, looking both flustered and excited by the sudden change in the room, responded by saying, “Anyone who doubts me, contact my office…I’ll give you a copy of the proposal. ” He emphasized that it is “not a majority” of Republicans who support such a plan and that it may not even be a “significant” portion of them.

At least one Republican lawmaker shouted, “Then don’t say that!”

“I enjoy the change,” Biden quipped, adding that minds in the room have changed on the subject.

After some uproar died down, Biden said everyone in the room apparently agreed that “Social Security and Medicare are off the books! We’ve got a consensus!”

“So tonight, let’s all agree — and apparently we are — and stand up for seniors,” Biden added, after most people in the chamber stood up. “Stand up and show them! We’re not going to cut Social Security! We’re not going to cut Medicare! These benefits belong to the American people. They’ve earned it. … If somebody tries to cut Medicare, I’ll block them. I’ll veto it… but apparently that won’t be a problem.

White House staff watching on television in the West Wing cheered and high-fived at the time, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

During the midterm elections, Biden’s focus on Social Security and Medicare was one of his main arguments. He often sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) pointed to a plan aimed at reducing the federal deficit with a proposal to “sunset” all federal programs after five years, meaning they expire. will be until renewed.

Scott’s plan does not specifically say that Social Security or Medicare would expire, but it does suggest that “all federal legislation would expire in 5 years.”

Some top Republicans suggested that Scott’s approach was unwise — “It’s not going to be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said when Scott’s plan was released. Went — but that didn’t stop Biden. By trying to make Scott the face of the GOP.

More recently, Biden has said Republicans need to offer more specifics on what programs they want to cut. He has accused them of being vague even as they threaten not to raise the debt ceiling without cutting the budget.

“Some of my Republican friends want to hold the economy hostage,” he said during the speech.

After the speech, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Biden was wrong to associate his party with wanting to end those programs. “He tries to spread this false narrative about getting rid of Social Security and Medicare,” he said. “And I think by the end he admitted it wasn’t true, but he was trying to make a point about Republicans. It’s just not true.”

There was a discordant note back and forth in the chamber and a sense of the uncluttered, free-flowing British Parliament in Question Time with the Prime Minister, rather than the traditionally more grandiose setting of a presidential address.

Much of the first part of Biden’s speech focused on seemingly bipartisan basics — boosting blue-collar jobs, boosting American manufacturing, promoting infrastructure projects — that Republicans didn’t dare stand on. And through most of it, McCarthy remained seated.

McCarthy and Green have come a long way since the Georgia congresswoman was elected to the House in 2020. When Democrats stripped Green of his committee duties, McCarthy’s own defense eventually led to a close relationship between the two. She was a vocal supporter of his bid for speaker, but it wasn’t enough to ensure an easy path for the California Republican.

While McCarthy ultimately won the deal by hashing it out, he remains in the crosshairs of the conference’s divided factions. Greene’s display against Biden underscored that tough grip — that McCarthy may not be an ally, even as he and other GOP leaders warned lawmakers that he might not use Biden during his speech. But don’t react hastily.

“He flat out lied, talked about Republicans and Social Security and Medicare,” Green said in a video released after the speech.

“We haven’t talked about cutting Social Security and Medicare … we’re not,” he said. “So we called him on the floor of the House. I called him a liar because that’s what Joe Biden is.

She continued: “Joe Biden has no idea what he’s talking about. This is the state of our union.”

Leigh Ann Caldwell, Liz Goodwin and Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.

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