Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told the American public during her Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union on Tuesday night that she’s worried the United States “is on the wrong track.”
Citing climbing inflation and violent crime as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Reynolds framed the first year of the Biden administration in her speech as sending the United States back in time to the 1970s and early 1980s when it battled these same issues.
She accused Biden and his administration of pursuing a reactionary foreign policy instead of one that leads geopolitics and a domestic policy that ignores the problems Americans face at home to seek divisive issues.
“Even before taking the oath of office, the president told us that he wanted to quote ‘make America respected around the world again’ and to unite us here at home,” she said. “He’s failed on both fronts.”
On foreign policy, Reynolds pointed to the “disastrous” military withdrawal from Afghanistan as a betrayal of allies that embolden enemies although former Republican President Donald Trump was also eager to withdraw from the Middle Eastern country and negotiated an agreement with the Taliban to do so in February 2020.
She also highlighted the ongoing missile launches that began during the Trump administration and suggested Biden was lenient on Russia ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion last week of Ukraine.
“Weakness on the world stage has a cost, and the president’s approach to foreign policy has consistently been too little too late,” she said. “It’s time for America to once again project confidence, it’s time to be decisive, it’s time to lead.”
On the domestic front, she said Biden and his Democratic Party have either ignored the issues Americans face or made them worse, stating their spending has caused inflation to rise and their energy policies have caused gas prices to climb.
She also accused Biden of being out of touch not only with the American people but with his own party, which caused his signature Build Back Better bill to stall in Congress.
Reynolds hit at some of the progressive policies the Biden administration has sought to implement without mentioning any specifically but framing them as legislation that seeks to restrict freedoms.
“Americans are tired of a political class trying to remake this country into a place where an elite few tell everyone else what they can and cannot say, what they can and cannot believe,” she said. “They’re tired of people pretending the way to end racism is by categorizing everybody by their race.”
During her rebuttal, she chastised her Democratic governors over their restrictions to freedoms in an effort to stymie the spread of the pandemic while she and other Republicans did not go down that route.
“Republican governors faced the same COVID-19 virus head on, but we honored your freedoms and saw right away that lockdowns and school closures, they came with their own significant costs,” she said. “That mandates weren’t the answer.”
Reynolds, a rising star in her Republican Party, made a name for herself by resisting COVID-19 restrictions as she didn’t initiate a “stay at home” order. She has also said she regrets having moved K-12 classes online for several months amid the pandemic.
She was tapped to give the Republicans’ response to Biden’s State of the Union last month amid rising inflation, but prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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