President Joe Biden will give his State of the Union address tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern.
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote, “I don’t envy the White House speechwriters. They no doubt spent weeks preparing for a State of the Union address touting the economic recovery, the prospect of a post-pandemic return to normal and the administration’s inflation-fighting plans. Then the world changed.”
What’s happening in Ukraine almost certainly has the speechwriters rewriting. On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told MSNBC’s Peter Alexander and Kristen Welker, “Certainly, what we’re seeing on the ground in Ukraine, the fact that the president has built a coalition of countries around the world to stand up to Russian aggression, to stand up to President Putin, to put in place crippling sanctions, that will be a part of what people will hear in the speech. That wouldn’t have been the case three months ago.”
Rubin wrote that Biden needs to focus on Russia: “Biden needs a very different State of the Union. Instead of defending remarkable domestic progress, with foreign policy relegated to the back end of the speech, he needs to flip the order and build the speech around a historic moment when the United States is leading a worldwide coalition in defense of freedom. This is a time for public education.”
Here are some more thoughts and previews of tonight’s State of the Union:
- The Associated Press’ Lisa Mascaro with “State of the Union: Amid disputes, common cause for Ukraine.”
- The Washington Post’s Annie Linskey and Tyler Pager with “Biden wanted to use the State of the Union for his agenda. Then Russia started a land war.”
- CNN’s Maegan Vazquez, Donald Judd and Kevin Liptak with “Biden to announce plan to lower costs for American families during State of the Union address.”
This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.