Biden takes aim at Putin, vows to fight sky-high inflation during SOTU address

As Ukraine faces the sixth day of bombing and attacks from Russian forces, President Biden will say the US and NATO “were ready” to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the importance of “American diplomacy” in his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Just hours before Biden was scheduled to deliver his first State of the Union to Congress, the White House released several excerpts of the president’s speech.

“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos. They keep moving. And, the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising,” Biden will say, according to the excerpts.

“That’s why the NATO Alliance was created to secure peace and stability in Europe after World War II. The United States is a member along with 29 other nations,” the excerpts read, appearing to emphasize the importance of the US in garnering support for Ukraine.

“It matters. American diplomacy matters.”

President Joe BidenPresident Joe Biden is set to defend NATO and “American diplomacy” as Russian forces continue to bombard Ukraine.AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

The president is then expected to turn directly to Putin, calling his war “premeditated and unprovoked.”

Gasoline prices are displayed at a Chevron gas station downtown Los Angeles Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.President Joe Biden insists that relying less on “foreign supply chains” will reduce soaring inflation.AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Russian President Vladimir PutinPresident Joe Biden plans on swiping at Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “aggression” and “chaos.”Russian Presidential Press Service via AP

“He rejected efforts at diplomacy. He thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond. And, he thought he could divide us here at home.”

“Putin was wrong. We were ready.”

Tuesday marks the sixth day of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, as Ukrainian forces continue to hold off Russian troops outside the capital city of Kyiv. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled the country as Russia continues to shell and launch missile strikes on cities across Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly urged Biden to deliver “useful” remarks on the Russian invasion. 

“He is one of the leaders of the world and it is very important that the people of the United States understand (that) despite the fact that the war is in Ukraine … it is [a] war for the values of democracy, freedom,” Zelensky told CNN. 

Following a later discussion between the two presidents, Biden confirmed the US’s continued support for Ukraine, saying in a tweet that “We will hold Russia accountable, and our sanctions are already having a devastating impact.”

Gas prices grow along with inflation as this sign at a gas station shows in San Diego, California, U.S. November, 9, 2021.Republicans have demanded President Joe Biden to accelerate US oil production in response to higher gas prices.REUTERS

On inflation, Biden is expected to say that Americans “have a choice” in fighting the highest percentage price hikes in 40 years.

“One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer. I have a better plan to fight inflation,” the president will say.

“Lower your costs, not your wages. Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. And, instead of relying on foreign supply chains – let’s make it in America.

The chamber of the House of Representatives is seen at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.Several Republican members will not attend President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address after refusing to take a COVID-19 test.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“Economists call it ‘increasing the productive capacity of our economy.’ I call it building a better America,” Biden will say. “My plan to fight inflation will lower your costs and lower the deficit.”

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki first confirmed the president’s intention to address inflation in his address, calling it “a huge issue on the minds of Americans.”

The president is also expected to attempt to revive efforts to pass his roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better Act – which was shot down by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) last December – according to White House aides. 

An armed man stands by a destroyed Russian vehicle in Bucha, Ukraine on March 1, 2022.An armed man stands by a destroyed Russian vehicle in Bucha, Ukraine on March 1, 2022.AP Photo/Serhii Nuzhnenko

Biden is set to appear before Congress around 9 p.m. on Tuesday. All members of Congress have been invited to attend, however some will not appear due to positive COVID-19 test results, or defiance over having to take a test to attend.

Also in attendance will be Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, who will be appearing at the speech as first lady Jill Biden’s guest. 

Other guests will include Joshua Davis, a 13-year-old Virginia student who is diabetic and Frances Haugen, a self-styled Facebook whistleblower.

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