President Joe Biden argued forcefully for the power of democracy while calling out Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a March 1 State of the Union address that soon turned to the domestic concerns of the economy, inflation, and covid-19.
Biden’s one-hour speech was given to a largely unmasked crowd of lawmakers, Supreme Court justices, and Cabinet members in the House chamber, a sign of the diminished threat of the omicron variant.
Speaking on the subject of the coronavirus, Biden attempted to thread the needle between being optimistic and on guard, saying the nation was entering a phase in which “covid-19 need no longer control our lives,” although the U.S. should stay focused on expanding vaccines, treatments, and testing and monitoring new variants. And when Biden introduced Ukrainian ambassador Oksana Markarova, who was in the gallery as a guest of first lady Jill Biden, the room — much more crowded than for a speech there in April last year — responded with a standing ovation.
As expected, Biden used the address to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of force against Ukraine while touting the strength of the Ukrainian people and the NATO alliance.
He also went through a fairly lengthy domestic to-do list that touched on a number of health policy issues.
He spoke about the …