Katie Britt calls Biden a ‘diminished leader’ in GOP response to the State of the Union

The first-term Alabama Republican, the youngest woman in the Senate, delivered a stinging election-year critique of the president while sitting at her own kitchen table.

Senator Katie Britt

FILE - Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., speaks during a news conference on the border, Feb. 15, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Britt will deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech on Thursday, March 7, 2024. She is the youngest female senator and the first woman elected to the Senate from Alabama. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

What you need to know

Sen. Katie Britt called President Joe Biden a “dithering and diminished leader” in the Republican rebuttal to his State of the Union address Thursday evening.

The first-term Alabama Republican, the youngest woman in the Senate, delivered a stinging election-year critique of the president while sitting at her own kitchen table. She argued that “the country we know and love seems to be slipping away.”

Britt, a 42 year-old former congressional staffer and mother of two, was elected to the Senate in 2022 with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. She promised to come to Washington as a “momma on a mission” and has carved out a unique role in the GOP conference as an adviser to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and an experienced former aide on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

It’s the third year in a row that Republicans have picked a woman to speak to the nation after Biden leaves the podium — and Britt’s remarks echo the same dark vision for the future under Biden and Democrats laid out by Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in 2023 and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2022.

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“For years, the left has coddled criminals and defunded the police — all while letting repeat offenders walk free,” Britt said in her response. “The result is tragic but foreseeable — from our small towns to America’s most iconic city streets, life is getting more and more dangerous.”

She criticized Biden’s foreign policy, including his chaotic 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan and talk of a renewed nuclear deal with Iran. She did not mention Ukraine’s war with Russia, as Biden has aggressively pushed the Republican-led House to take up a Senate-passed aid package.

Britt’s rebuttal came as her state has drawn national attention for a state Supreme Court ruling in February that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. That ruling blocked access to in vitro fertilization at clinics across the state, but some said they would resume services after the state legislature passed legislation Wednesday shielding doctors from legal liability.

Britt has argued in support of the IVF services, calling Trump after the ruling. Trump, the party’s front-runner for the GOP nomination, issued a statement hours later saying that he backs IVF.

In her response, Britt reiterated her support for the practice, saying “we want to help loving moms and dads bring precious life into this world.”

Britt, who has made immigration a top issue, also slammed the president on the border, calling his policies a “disgrace” that have led to higher numbers of border crossings during his presidency.

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She noted that Biden mentioned slain Georgia nursing student Laken Riley during his speech, but said he “refused to take responsibility for his own actions.” Police say Ruket was killed by an immigrant in the country illegally.

“Mr. President, enough is enough. Innocent Americans are dying and you only have yourself to blame. Fulfill your oath of office,” Britt said. “Reverse your policies and this crisis and stop the suffering.”

Britt said “the free world deserves better than a dithering and diminished leader. America deserves leaders who recognize that secure borders, stable prices, safe streets and a strong defense are the cornerstones of a great nation.”

She did not mention Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, whom Britt endorsed in December. But she said the country is at a crossroads, and “I know which choice our children deserve – and the choice the Republican Party is fighting for.”

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