If you are hoping to see some dramatic moment in which House Republicans stick it to President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address, you might be disappointed.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says he will not be following in the footsteps of his predecessor and playing “childish games” while he sits behind the president.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the California Republican wrote, “A lot of people have been asking if I’m planning on ripping up President Biden’s speech tonight. Here’s my answer.”
He shared a short video where he said, “I don’t believe in the theatrics of tearing up speeches.”
“I respect the other side. I can disagree on policy, but I want to make sure this country is stronger, economically sound, energy independent, secure and accountable,” he added.
A lot of people have been asking if I'm planning on ripping up President Biden’s speech tonight. Here’s my answer: pic.twitter.com/WRlAlYgCbs
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) February 7, 2023
McCarthy also told CNN’s Manu Raju, “We’re members of Congress. We have a code of ethics of how we should portray ourselves but also do our jobs and that’s exactly what we’ll do. But we’re not going to be playing childish games, tearing up a speech. That’s just a political ploy.”
On SOTU, McCarthy told me of Rs: "We’re members of Congress. We have a code of ethics of how we should portray ourselves but also do our jobs and that’s exactly what we’ll do. But we’re not going to be playing childish games, tearing up a speech. That’s just a political ploy"
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 7, 2023
His comments refer to a dramatic moment from former President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in 2020.
As Trump wrapped up his comments, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) dramatically ripped up her copy of the speech.
In case you missed it:
You can make the argument presidents and the media have distorted the purpose of the State of the Union over the years to make it a gross display of political pageantry resembling something you see in a monarchical government.
Politico’s senior media writer Jack Shafer argued that the speech should be skipped as he pointed out that the U.S. Constitution only states presidents shall “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the state of the Union.”
It does not stipulate they must deliver their remarks in person while they are repeatedly interrupted by applause and broadcast to the nation. Shafer also noted, “Every president from Thomas Jefferson to William Howard Taft produced remarks for Congress and then mailed them in.”
So it could probably be scaled back without many people really, truly caring. Who wants to sit for a long time and go through the ritual expectations of standing to applause every five minutes, or sit stoically to express your disapproval?
But regardless of where you stand on the State of the Union, it is sad we are in a position where our elected officials are being asked if they will behave disrespectfully behind the president.
Presidents are not gods and kings. But you would still expect full-grown adults in Congress would be able to show some decorum even as our political dialogue becomes more and more inflamed.
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