'We're here to finish the job!' Joe Biden vows to work with Republican rivals ahead of expected second term announcement

8 February 2023, 03:54 | Updated: 8 February 2023, 05:23

US President Joe Biden has vowed to work with his Republican rivals in his second State of the Union address, setting out an optimistic tone ahead of an expected announcement that he will run for a second term.
US President Joe Biden has vowed to work with his Republican rivals in his second State of the Union address, setting out an optimistic tone ahead of an expected announcement that he will run for a second term. Picture: Getty

By Chris Samuel

US President Joe Biden has vowed to work with his Republican rivals in his second State of the Union address, setting out an optimistic tone ahead of an expected announcement that he will run for a second term.

Mr Biden was speaking before Congress for the first time since the GOP took control of the House of Representatives in January.

But the Democrat struck a conciliatory tone, listing the numerous bipartisan bills passed during the last two years.

The former Vice President conceded that America's democracy is bruised, but stressed that it is "unbowed and unbroken".

He said: "The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere … We've been sent here to finish the job!"

Read more: David Bowie's handwritten lyrics for The Jean Genie sell for £57k at auction

Read more: US Navy releases photos of downed 'spy balloon' being pulled from Atlantic Ocean by sailors

But he also pointed the administration's successes and was defiant in the face of heckles and boos from Republicans.

However, there were moments of bipartisan applause over police reform and backing Ukraine resistance to Russia's invasion.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Biden appealed to working class voters who polls suggest are unhappy with the direction of the country, and confronted entrenched issues facing the country, including gun crime, and police brutality.

US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) listen as US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the State of the Union address
US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) listen as US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the State of the Union address. Picture: Getty

Rodney Wells and RowVaughn Wells, the parents of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who died three days after being beaten in a traffic stop in early January were in attendance.

Reflecting on Mr Nichols' death, President Biden said that when officers or departments violate the public’s trust, they need to be held accountable.

Also present was Brandon Tsay, hero of the Monterey shooting.

The speech marks Biden's first address to the new Republican-controlled House.
The speech marks Biden's first address to the new Republican-controlled House. Picture: Getty

President Biden made a passionate call for assault weapons to be banned, urging Congress to "do something about gun violence".

He also called on lawmakers to codify abortion rights after the overturning of Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 bill that enshrines rights to abortion nationwide.

However, there is virtually no prospect of that happening, due to the Republican majority in the House.

He also renewed his commitment to stand with Ukraine, and singled out the Ukrainian ambassador to Washington, a special guest at the event.

Joe Biden shakes hands with US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address.
Joe Biden shakes hands with US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as he arrives to deliver the State of the Union address. Picture: Getty

"We're going to stand with you as long as it takes," he told her, but didn't offers any details on new financial or military aid for the war-torn nation.

This week the US military shot down a Chinese suspected spy balloon off the Carolina coast.

Rodney Wells and RowVaughn Wells, parents of Tyre Nichols, Brandon Tsay, hero of the Monterey, California, shooting, and Irish singer-songwriter Bono were among those in attendance.
Rodney Wells and RowVaughn Wells, parents of Tyre Nichols, Brandon Tsay, hero of the Monterey, California, shooting, and Irish singer-songwriter Bono were among those in attendance. Picture: Getty

The incident provoked a diplomatic row between the two nations, with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken cancelling a planned trip to the country.

Discussing US-China relations, Mr Biden said: "Make no mistake about it, as we made clear last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country," a sentiment met with loud chants of "USA! USA!"

US Vice President Kamala Harris waves as US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) looks out following the speech
US Vice President Kamala Harris waves as US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) looks out following the speech. Picture: Getty

He also promised to tax high earners and corporations, saying "no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter".

The commander-in-chief drew focus to positive signs for the US economy, and pitched toward the country's blue collar workers.

However, the leader of the world's largest economy faces an uphill battle.

According to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only a quarter of US adults say things in the country are headed in the right direction, and around three-quarters say that things are on the wrong track.

Joe Biden takes pictures with members of Congress.
Joe Biden takes pictures with members of Congress. Picture: Getty

His speech, before a politically divided Congress came as the nation faces economic uncertainty, and growing tensions with China among them, with questions over Mr Biden's fitness for an expected re-election bid.

A majority of Democrats don't want the former Vice President run again.

Mr Biden, whose senate career began in 1973, turned 80 in November and would be 82 if re-elected for a second term.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Missing Brit who vanished in Majorca for 12 days is found alive after ‘series of unfortunate events’

Missing Brit who vanished in Majorca for 12 days is found alive after ‘series of unfortunate events’

Exclusive
Just Stop Oil could disrupt holidaymakers this summer

Holidaymakers face being blocked from boarding planes by Just Stop Oil at British airports this summer

Defence Secretary John Healey

Defence Secretary warns scale of issues facing British Army ‘much worse’ than previously feared

Dramatic footage on social media showed the blaze

Wildfires ravage Portuguese region loved by British holidaymakers

Mother of jailed Just Stop Oil campaigner complains daughter will miss brother's wedding after she blocked M25

Mother of jailed Just Stop Oil campaigner complains daughter will miss brother's wedding after she blocked M25

Rene Graham was killed on Sunday July 21

Teen victim of west London park shooting named and pictured for the first time

Kamala Harris has praised Joe Biden

Kamala Harris pays tribute to 'unmatched' legacy of Joe Biden, as Nancy Pelosi backs her for president run

Police said they attended the residence at Wexford Road, Coventry at around 12.15pm on Monday following an emergency 999 call

Woman in her 30s killed after being mauled by pet dog at home in Coventry

Secret Service boss Kimberly Cheatle denied claims she failed to provide Trump with adequate protection.

'We failed': Secret service boss brands Donald Trump shooting 'most significant failure in decades'

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

Anand Runwal jumped in front of the train to try to save his children

Pictured: Hero father who jumped in front of train to try to save his twin daughters, whose pushchair rolled onto tracks

The moment a sexual predator lured a 14-year-old schoolgirl to a guesthouse where he later raped her has been caught on camera.

Chilling footage captures sex predator luring schoolgirl, 14, to guesthouse before raping her after plying teen with alcohol

Migrants heading to Britain. Home Secretary Yvette cooper today revealed the scheme cost £700m and saw only four volunteers sent to Africa

Rwanda deportation scheme cost £700m and saw just four volunteers sent to Africa, Home Secretary reveals

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Strictly pro dancer Janette Manrara breaks her silence following claims by former contestant Will Bayley

Strictly dancer Janette Manrara breaks silence following contestant's 'life-changing' injury claims

President of Croatia Zoran Milanović described the attack as a "savage unprecedented crime".

Several killed as gunman opens fire in Croatian care home