President Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address

12:41 a.m. ET, March 8, 2024

Democrats breathe some relief and say tonight proves Biden’s got “gas left in the tank”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, talks with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi before President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address.

Shawn Thew/Pool/AP

Some Democrats applauded President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, while others said he could have gone further on certain issues.

Here’s how they reacted to the speech:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised Biden’s address for laying out “a bold vision” for the future.

“What the American people heard tonight was a leader who spoke directly to them, acknowledging their needs and shared in their hopes for the future, reminding us why America is a beacon of hope to the rest of the world and the work that must be done to maintain that status,” he said in a statement. “President Biden laid out a bold vision to the American people that shows Democrats are working for a safe, stable, strong America – one that prioritizes the needs of working families and leaves no one behind.”

Sen. Joe Manchin applauded Biden’s speech and said he had no issue with it being a political attack at moments against Republicans. 

“It’s a political season,” Manchin said. “What do you expect?”

Manchin said Republican outbursts were ”shameful,” adding “the whole world is watching. We can do better than that.” But Manchin said he was happy to see Biden show voters tonight he is up for the job of another four years. 

Biden “still has a little gas left in the tank,” Manchin said. 

Sen. Mark Warner also commended the president, saying “I thought he showed a lot of energy.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was also complimentary of the address.

“I think he had a lot of energy. I think he was focused and delivered a very certain message to the American people,” Ocasio-Cortez told CNN. 

Rep. Gerry Connolly applauded Biden for giving Republicans some grief tonight and argued Biden needs to keep giving Republicans hell on the trail. 

“He reset the narrative. This speech will energize Democrats, it will reassure Democrats who were nervous,” Connolly said. “It will have some political after effects that are all good. The longer term question is OK, but will this be sustained because if it isn’t it’s a lost cause.”

And Rep. Jamaal Bowman told CNN’s Manu Raju he wishes the president had more directly called for an immediate ceasefire amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza during his address, but commended his criticism of Israel.

“I’m happy that he’s very critical of Israel. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen a president be that critical,” Bowman said.

There was one moment though tonight that caught several Democrats off guard: when Biden used the term “illegals.”

Rep. Delia Ramirez told CNN she was shocked and her phone immediately started to receive notifications.

“That was really discouraging,” Ramirez said. “Listen I am the daughter of immigrants. My husband is undocumented. When you say illegal, you are saying the same word that Marjorie Taylor Greene says over and over and over again in Homeland Security. We can’t use words like that because words matter. It was really unfortunate. He got flustered yes, but those words should never come out of a President.”

Rep. Chuy Garcia said that he is “extremely disappointed” in President Biden for using the word “illegal” in his speech. 

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Ben Cardin said he hoped that Biden’s focus on Ukraine would lead to the passage of supplemental funding for Kyiv.

“When he raised that at the beginning, I’m sitting in the front of the chamber where the Senators sit, and I saw a lot of Republican senators stand to their feet and say, ‘Yea, let’s do this,’” Cardin recounted. “It was one of the areas where there was strong bipartisan reaction from the members of Congress.” 
“It’s our belief that the support is there to pass the supplemental if Speaker Johnson will only let it be voted upon,” Cardin said.

The post was updated with more Democratic reaction to Biden’s address.

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