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Key moments from Sen. Katie Britt's Republican response to 2024 State of the Union

Sen. Katie Britt delivers GOP rebuttal
Sen. Katie Britt delivers Republican rebuttal to State of the Union address 21:21

Washington — Alabama Sen. Katie Britt on Thursday delivered an impassioned criticism of President Biden and his administration's policies during the Republican response to his 2024 State of the Union address, seeking to use her rebuttal to draw a contrast to the president heading into the November general election and distinguish the GOP as the party that is better positioned to lead the nation.

In remarks delivered from her kitchen table at her house in Montgomery, Alabama, Britt denounced Mr. Biden's remarks in his third State of the Union, and lambasted the president for his policies on immigration, economics, crime and foreign policy.

"What we saw was the performance of a permanent politician who has actually been in office for longer than I've been alive," she said. "One thing was quite clear though: President Biden just doesn't get it."

Britt sought to paint Mr. Biden as an out-of-touch politician who has little awareness of what the middle class is experiencing under his administration. She did not mention former President Donald Trump, who Britt has endorsed for the White House and who is expected to face-off against Mr. Biden in the November general election.

"Right now, the American dream has turned into a nightmare for so many families," Britt said. "The true, unvarnished state of our union begins and ends with this: Our families are hurting. Our country can do better."

The senator, who made history as the first woman elected to represent Alabama in the Senate, and youngest Republican woman ever elected to the upper chamber, attempted to appeal to families who are worried about crime in their communities and inflation.

"Just ask yourself, are you better off now than you were three years ago?" she said. "There's no doubt we're at a crossroads, and it doesn't have to be this way. We all feel it."

Britt characterized Republicans as the party of "hardworking parents and families" who are working to improve the nation's future for the next generation and "want families to grow." 

"It's why we strongly support continued nationwide access to in vitro fertilization," she said.

The Alabama senator's mention of IVF services comes as Republicans seek to quell concerns that access to fertility treatments could be at risk after the high court in Britt's home state found frozen embryos can be considered children under Alabama law. 

The Alabama Supreme Court's decision last month left the state mired in controversy after several clinics that provide in vitro fertilization services announced they would be halting or limiting treatments, and Republicans at the state and federal level have raced to express support for continued access to IVF services.

"We the people are in the driver's seat," Britt said. "We get to decide whether our future will grow brighter or whether we'll settle for an America in decline. Well, I know which choice our children deserve, and I know the choice the Republican Party is fighting for."

On immigration, Britt claimed that Mr. Biden created the current situation at the border with a slew of executive actions he issued in his first 100 days in office.

"This is the United States of America and it is past time, in my opinion, that we start acting like it," she said. "President Biden's border policies are a disgrace. This crisis is despicable and the truth is, it is almost entirely preventable."

Britt attempted to stoke fear by proclaiming that "innocent Americans are dying," and, to Mr. Biden said, "you only have yourself to blame." The Alabama Republican noted the murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley last month on the campus of the University of Georgia. The suspect in her death is a Venezuelan migrant, and Republicans have claimed her killing is a result of Mr. Biden's border policies.

"Fulfill your oath of office. Reverse your policies. End this crisis and stop the suffering," she said.

On the economy, Britt said that the American people are "scraping by," while the president touts the success of his economic policies, which the White House has dubbed "Bidenomics." And on foreign policy, the Alabama senator claimed that the U.S. has retreated on the world stage, allowing adversaries like Russia and Iran to act without repercussions. 

"We all recall when presidents faced national security threats with strength and resolve. That seems like ancient history," she said. "Right now, our commander-in-chief is not in command. 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 actually the cornerstones of a great nation."

Britt claimed that Mr. Biden has failed the country, and she sought to motivate voters to tap into the nation's history and "stand up and prove ourselves worthy of the American dream."

"Get into the arena," she said. "Every generation has been called to do hard things. American greatness rests in the fact that we always answer that call. It's who we are."

Republican leaders announced last month that Britt would be delivering the GOP response to Mr. Biden's State of the Union address and indicated that she is well-suited to show the American people why the president, at 81, should be limited to a single term in the White House.

How do they choose who gives the State of the Union rebuttal?

The Republican selected to deliver the rebuttal is typically considered a rising star in the party, and someone who can draw a clear distinction from Mr. Biden and Democrats. The top leaders of the party that doesn't occupy the White House choose who will give the response.

In 2023, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the nation's youngest governor, delivered the GOP response, and in 2022, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds provided the rebuttal.

Given the focus on Mr. Biden's age heading into the November general election, which is poised to be a rematch of the 2020 race against Trump, GOP leaders selected the youngest Republican woman ever to serve in the upper chamber. Mr. Biden began his career in the Senate years before Britt was even born.

In fact, House Speaker Mike Johnson said in a statement last month that "the American people will tune in as the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the Senate turns the page on the oldest president in history."

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell praised Britt as an "an unapologetic optimist."

The GOP is working to convince voters that they are the better party to lead the country into the future and address key issues like immigration and the economy. McConnell said last month that Britt has become "a leading voice in the fight to secure a stronger American future and leave years of Washington Democrats' failures behind."

A look at Senator Katie Britt's political career

Britt was elected to the Senate in 2022 after defeating Rep. Mo Brooks in the GOP primary runoff. Trump initially endorsed Brooks, but the former president withdrew his support earlier in the race after polls showed Brooks struggling to gain support. Trump threw his weight behind Britt months later, after she received the most votes in the primary. She advanced to a runoff against Brooks.

Brooks and Britt were vying to succeed longtime GOP Sen. Richard Shelby after he announced his retirement. Britt served as Shelby's chief of staff and as president of the Business Council of Alabama.

Before leading Shelby's office, Britt served as deputy campaign manager for his 2016 re-election bid and was a practicing attorney.

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