Embattled Biden Expected to Take a Break from ‘MAGA Extremist’ Attacks in State of the Union

In the lead up to a likely reelection announcement this spring, President Joe Biden is expected to use his State of the Union speech tonight to try to reframe his presidency, and to paint himself as a moderate, a uniter, and a consensus builder rather than as a partisan fighter and one of the most left-wing presidents in modern times.

Biden will likely continue to highlight his administration’s bipartisan successes — including the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill he signed in November 2021 — and to tout the progress of his so-called “unity agenda,” a four-part agenda that he believes Americans from across the ideological spectrum can agree on — ending cancer, protecting veterans, and tackling both the opioid epidemic and the nation’s mental-health crisis.

He is expected to call tonight for higher taxes on the wealthy, to stump for police and gun reform, to highlight his administration’s efforts to curb skyrocketing inflation, to tout the efforts to aid Ukraine in its war with Russia, and to urge Republican House leaders to rule out entitlement cuts.

Speaking three months after the midterm elections, where his party narrowly lost control of the House of Representatives, Biden is also expected to tone down his attacks on his Republican rivals, at least temporarily. Biden has previously described many Republicans as “ultra-MAGA” extremists in thrall to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement, which Biden has described as “semi-fascism” and “an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

Biden worked on tonight’s speech with White House senior advisor Anita Dunn, according to Fox News. She previously worked with the Center for American Progress, a left-wing advocacy group, on the campaign to brand Republicans as right-wing radicals. Biden has continued to paint Republicans as extremists in the lead-up to tonight’s speech.

“Jobs are up, wages are up, inflation is down, and COVID no longer controls our lives,” he told the Democratic National Committee on Friday, according to a PBS report. “But now, the extreme MAGA Republicans in the House of Representatives have made it clear they intend to put it all at risk. They intend to destroy it.”

Tonight’s State of the Union comes as Biden is facing questions about his management of the southern border, his handling of classified documents, and his decision making regarding a Chinese spy balloon that floated over the country last week.

In addition to attempting to portray Biden as a uniter, the White House has also tried to paint his first two years as president as the most successful in recent American history. But it appears that most Americans aren’t buying it. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that most Americans, or 62 percent, believe that Biden has accomplished “not very much” or “little or nothing” during his time in office. Likewise, most Americans think Biden has made little or no progress in terms of creating good jobs, improving roads and bridges, and making electric vehicles more affordable, according to the poll. With Republicans taking control of the House, Biden will have limited ability to advance his agenda through the divided Congress.

Biden’s approval rating is currently 43.2 percent, and it’s not even clear that Biden has the backing of most Democrats. According to a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 37 percent of Democrats want him to seek a second term.

At 80, Biden is already the oldest president in American history. If he were to win reelection in 2024, he would be in line to serve until he was 86. He is expected to try to use tonight’s speech to show that he still has the vigor to be president.

More from National Review