Joe Biden’s joint session address was predictably dull with a little over an hour of nothingburgers. The beginning of the show had the most enthusiasm as members filed in, masks in place, to fist bump each other and smile (with their eyes, of course) at the cameras like movie stars walking the red carpet. Some of the players, though, looked like they needed canes or walkers to make it down the aisle, a visual reminder of the movers and shakers who have been in the political arena for far too long.
The president, sporting his face mask, ambled down the row, bumping fists before taking his place at the podium, his wife, Dr. Jill, beaming with a mask sporting a floral arrangement to match her dress. Adorned in power suits to impress the masses, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took their designated seats behind the commander in chief, jumping up like Jack in the Boxes to clap their approval at choice moments of Biden’s speech.
Biden patted himself on the back, boasting the quickest job increase compared to any other president’s first 100 days and his plans for free childcare and help with education, likely to Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) delight. Not much, if anything, was said about the border crisis, but then the VP is supposed to be handling that delicate matter.
For those keeping an eye on the video likes v dislikes, it was blatantly obvious that the joint session of Congress was not a hit. “Fake President” appeared in the comment section like a litany, while others offered their opinions such as “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.” While the online reception was not overly positive, the in-person attendance was kept at a minimum by design. A big reason the address had a low attendance was that many people were reportedly disinvited due to the coronavirus. Pelosi told reporters before the event that:
“We went from 1,600 people to 200 people. That is a different dynamic, but it has its own worth. It will be its own character; it will be its own wonderful character, no not worried at all.”
Even though several Republicans opted not to attend the event, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) pointed out that there was plenty of room to safely allow people to witness the president’s accomplishments. During this year’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the senator noted, Democrats were not so worried about social distancing, and this was before so many had had vaccination shots. He said:
“It’s interesting – when it came to coming together to impeach Donald Trump for the second time after he was out of office, they put 100 senators in the same room sitting just inches apart for hours at a time over five or six days. Apparently, COVID was not an issue then. But now, of course, for something like this, we can’t have that many people in the room sitting next to each other. So it’s kind of a silly season here.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was in attendance, and the moment when the camera zoomed in on his attempt to try and keep his eyes open perfectly summed up the event. An inspiring speaker the president is not.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.