Chris Wallace says Republicans played into Biden’s hands with heckling

Journalist Chris Wallace said Republicans did President Biden a favor with their heckling of him during the State of the Union address Tuesday. 

“I mean, they literally played into his hands. You know, I don’t know if the people at the White House as they were drafting it at Camp David this weekend envisioned that happening the way it did, but it played out perfectly,” Wallace said on CNN following the speech. 

Republicans heckled Biden after he accused some in the GOP of wanting to cut funding for Social Security and Medicare, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) shouting “liar” and others saying “no.” 

Biden joked “I enjoy conversion” and added an unscripted line to his speech, saying, “So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books now, right?”

Biden later called on Congress to agree to “stand up for seniors,” getting applause from across both parties. 

“When he said let’s all stand up for seniors, there was no politician who was not going to stand up for seniors,” Wallace said. 

He said Biden continued in calling for no cuts to Social Security and Medicare while everyone was still standing. 

“It was a brilliant moment that, you know, it like took something that had been prepared by the speech writers and he made it his own and he made it magic,” Wallace said. “It was really quite a piece of political showmanship.” 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said cuts to those two social programs are “off the table” for discussions about raising the debt ceiling; however, Biden pointed to a GOP proposal that would have Social Security and Medicare sunset every five years, meaning that Congress would have to renew them. 

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) released a proposal last year that called for sunsetting all federal legislation after five years.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday that Biden’s accusation of Republicans wanting to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare as part of an agreement to raise the debt limit is “not true.” 

Wallace said before the speech that Biden would likely have his largest live audience of the year on Tuesday night and needed to come off as “vigorous,” as he is likely close to announcing his 2024 reelection bid.

Tags Biden Chris Wallace Chris Wallace heckling Joe Biden Marjorie Taylor Greene medicare senior citizens social security

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