Since the 1960s, the opposing party has typically followed up the President’s State of the Union with their own response: it’s from this more modern tradition that we get Senator Marco Rubio’s infamous water drinking foible from 2013. Tonight’s response to Biden is from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who gave this preview of her rebuttal on Twitter this morning:
Governor Reynolds has attracted considerable national attention over her distinct response to Covid-19 in the state, refusing to adopt many of the public health restrictions that have defined life in other states. But it’s clear from this tweet and recent comments that she might focus too on a number of other issues animating Republican voters and political figures, particularly the teaching of antiracism or Critical Race Theory in the classroom.
Reynolds isn’t the only one responding, though: Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib of Biden’s own party will also issue a response on behalf of the progressive Working Families Party. I’ll be curious to see if she replies to Biden’s provocative pushback against progressive calls to “defund the police”: “The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police,” Biden claimed in his State of the Union. As Axios reports, centrist Democrats have already made clear their frustration with Rep. Tlaib’s decision to provide her own response to Biden.
A fun bit of trivia to leave you with: Biden is now one of the few to deliver both a State of the Union and a response to another President’s address. In both 1983 and 1984, Biden was one of a number of Democrats to respond to then-President Ronald Reagan’s own addresses.