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Even some Republicans panned Sen. Katie Britt's disastrous State of the Union response

Brent D. Griffiths   

Even some Republicans panned Sen. Katie Britt's disastrous State of the Union response
  • Reviews were not kind to Sen. Katie Britt's first moment on the national stage.
  • She was tasked with the thankless job of delivering the GOP's response to Biden's State of the Union.

It didn't take long for Sen. Katie Britt, an Alabama Republican, to begin receiving heat when she welcomed Americans into her kitchen for the Republican Party's official response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.

Even some Republicans, including conservative women in politics, panned the decision to feature Britt, a 42-year-old rising star, in the room of the house often associated with holding back women's advancement in society.

"While Katie Boyd Britt is incredibly impressive, unsure why she felt the need to deliver the SOTU response from a kitchen…," Olivia Perez-Cubas, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's spokesperson, wrote on X.

Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former Trump White House official who's no fan of the former president, also criticized the backdrop for Britt's speech while praising the first-term senator's rise.

"I've got to say, the staging of this was bizarre to me, women can be both wives and mothers and also stateswomen," Griffin said on CNN.

Britt's office pushed back on the notion that the senator's response may have missed its mark.

"Joe Biden angrily screamed for an hour and was roundly praised for a 'fiery' speech," Sean Ross, Britt's spokesperson, said in a statement to Business Insider. "Katie Britt passionately made the case on the need for a new direction and is being criticized by the liberal media. Color me surprised."

The State of the Union response is incredibly difficult. No backdrop can compare to a joint session of Congress, though everything from a diner to a high school has been tried.

Like star athletes playing in empty stadiums amid the pandemic, it's immediately apparent that something is off. As of yet, no one has tried to add cardboard standees, though maybe future speech writers should take note. This is why the task is considered the most thankless job in American politics.

Unfortunately for Britt, she may have sharpened her critics' knives before she began speaking.

Someone leaked to The New York Times the suggested praise for her speech before she even said a word. Some suggestions included comparisons to President Ronald Reagan's most famous lines like, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," which is among the most memorable ever uttered by an American president.

No State of the Union response could live up to that. Heck, even the State of the Union is forgettable most of the time. The line most cited in modern times, President Bill Clinton's declaration that "the era of big government is over," was delivered in 1996. Britt wasn't even in high school yet.

In true Washington fashion, some of the most brutal takes on Britt's performance were delivered anonymously.

"Everyone's fucking losing it," an unnamed Republican told The Daily Beast. "It's one of our biggest disasters ever."

Democrats, in particular, mocked how Britt delivered her lines with the passion of actor in search of an elusive Oscar.

"Acting classes aren't free, but they sure are worth it," Chasten Buttigieg, a best-selling author and the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, wrote on X.

The snarky reviews aside, Britt hit the broad themes Republicans likely wanted her to. She contrasted her age, 42, with Biden's. The lawmaker tore into the White House over immigration, something polling shows is a particular vulnerability.

Britt shouldn't be too worried about the reviews, either. The response is less about actual speech than about signaling the arrival of a new name on the national stage. Just ask one of the Democrats who helped deliver the party's response to Reagan's address in 1982 and 1983.

Biden is doing quite well for himself.

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