Chinese balloon, police violence, abortion, Ukraine… What to remember from Joe Biden’s speech

Chinese balloon, police violence, abortion, Ukraine… What to remember from Joe Biden’s speech

Optimistic and hopeful. Joe Biden, who plans to run again in 2024, tried this Tuesday, before Congress, to breathe a positive message into a gloomy America. The United States is “in a better position than any country in the world” to revive its economy, despite the effects of the war in Ukraine and Covid-19, assured the American president from the start of his speech on the state of the Union.

For this traditional general policy address, Joe Biden also promised before parliamentarians to work for the “forgotten” of growth. He has not forgotten foreign policy.

chinese balloon

Joe Biden notably wanted to be firm against Beijing, stressing that the United States is “in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world”. “Make no mistake about it: as we clearly showed last week, if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country”, launched the American president.

The US military shot down on Saturday, off the coast of South Carolina, a Chinese balloon considered by the Pentagon as a spy balloon intended to collect sensitive information. Beijing argued for its part that it was a civilian aerostat, mainly intended to collect meteorological data.

“Winning the competition with China should unite us all,” he said, however, saying he was determined “to work with Beijing where it can serve American interests and benefit the whole world”. “I made it clear to (Chinese leader) Xi Jinping that we seek competition, not conflict,” he said.


Still on the international level, Ukraine has of course not been forgotten. Joe Biden assured before Congress that the United States would support the country “as long as it takes” face of the Russian invasion, making the ambassador of kyiv, present in the gallery, applaud.

“She represents not just her nation, but the courage of her people,” the US president told her. With NATO, the United States “faced the aggression led by Putin and stood by the side of the Ukrainian people”, he again told parliamentarians almost a year after the start of the war.

Police violence

Domestic politics has, of course, taken a large place in the State of the Union speech, in particular the question of police violence, at the heart of the news after the death of Tire Nichols, beaten by the police in early January. America “cannot turn away” from the problem, launched Joe Biden in the presence parents of the deceased African-American boy, which the elected officials applauded. “Let’s get together and finish the job on police reform,” he added.

VIDEO. Fatal arrest of Tire Nichols: the video that shocks the United States

“There are no words to describe the pain or grief of losing a child. But imagine, imagine losing a child to the police. (…) Imagine having to worry about your son or daughter coming home after walking down the street, playing in a park or just driving a car,” he continued.

Displaying his empathy, the president then mentioned “the talk”, or “the discussion”, a conversation that many black and minority ethnic families in the United States have with their children about dealing with the police. “Most of us here have never had to have the discussion. I never had to tell them that if a policeman asks you to park (…), don’t look for your license, keep your hands on the wheel,” he added.

Tech giants

Joe Biden has also put a completely different subject on the table: that of the tech giants, which he accuses of “reaping personal data on our children and adolescents. He called for the adoption of a law “backed by both parties” on the subject, also calling for a ban on targeted advertising aimed at them.

“We must hold social networks accountable for the experiments they conduct on our children to make a profit,” said Joe Biden, who had already asked Congress last month to legislate on the matter.

“Millions of young people are struggling with harassment, violence, trauma” and “mental health” issues, insisted the president, who had already called on social networks to “be accountable”, in a forum published on January 10 on the website of the wall street journal.

Help the middle class, tax the billionaires

The economy also occupied an important place in the general policy speech of Joe Biden, who promised before parliamentarians to work for the “forgotten” of growth.

“For decades, the middle class has been crushed,” he lamented. “Well-paid jobs were going abroad, factories were closing,” he said. “I came forward to really make a difference, to make sure the economy works for everyone so everyone can be proud of what they’re doing,” he said.

Struggling in the polls, Joe Biden has played the pragmatist card, flaunting – in pinpoint detail – his big bills that are supposed to bring those jobs back to America, improve the lives of seniors, scrap fees abusive banking…

Deeming the gigantic profits of oil companies “scandalous”, he called for the establishment of a “minimum tax” on billionaires.

“The tax system is not fair,” said the American president. “I propose to quadruple taxes” on share buybacks “to encourage long-term investment,” he also proposed during his State of the Union address.

Abortion and guns

Joe Biden promised on Tuesday to veto any federal ban on the right to abortion, questioned in many American states since it was blasted by the Supreme Court in 2022. “If Congress passes a national ban, I will veto it,” he said during his State of the Union address, calling on elected officials to protect that right.

Another sting against the conservative right – and an unrealizable promise with a Republican majority in the House and a particularly influential lobby – the American president has expressed his wish to ban assault rifles “once and for all”, a type weapon particularly lethal but over the counter on the other side of the Atlantic.

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