Gov Sanders Slams Biden Woke Fantasies 02/08 06:01
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders painted a dystopian portrait of the
country in her rebuttal to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address
Tuesday night, leaning heavily into Republican culture war issues and accusing
Biden of pursuing "woke fantasies."
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders painted a
dystopian portrait of the country in her rebuttal to President Joe Biden's
State of the Union address Tuesday night, leaning heavily into Republican
culture war issues and accusing Biden of pursuing "woke fantasies."
Speaking from the governor's mansion in Little Rock, Sanders sounded a lot
like her former boss, Donald Trump, as she warned of a nation whose ideals are
under attack and whose citizens are fighting for their freedoms.
"While you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration
seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face
every day," said Sanders, the former White House press secretary. "Most
Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are
under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn't start and never wanted to
Sanders, 40, delivered the speech less than a month after being sworn in as
the first female governor of Arkansas. The daughter of former Gov. Mike
Huckabee, she is also the first Arkansan to deliver the response to a
president's State of the Union since Bill Clinton as governor in 1985.
Sanders' speech was a reintroduction for the former press secretary, who as
Trump's chief spokesperson scaled back daily televised briefings after
repeatedly sparring with reporters who aggressively questioned her.
She didn't mention Trump by name during Tuesday's speech, which embraced
conservatives' fights against the way race is taught in public school. She
called Biden's administration "completely hijacked by the radical left."
"The dividing line in America is no longer right or left," she said. "The
choice is between normal or crazy."
Sanders' speech was a stark contrast to Biden's address, which sought to
reassure the country and urged Congress to work with him on rebuilding the
With her speech, GOP leaders gave a platform to a figure linked closely to
Trump, who remains influential within the party even as Republicans question
how much of a hindrance his quest to return to the White House has become. The
star turn for Sanders also puts the spotlight on the nation's youngest governor
at a time when recent polling suggests that even many Democrats view the
80-year-old Biden's age as a liability.
Sanders highlighted that contrast, citing Biden's age as the oldest U.S.
"It's time for a new generation of Republican leadership," she said.
Her speech comes as a Republican field for 2024 is beginning to form to
challenge Trump, 76, as he seeks the White House for a third time. The field
includes former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as U.N. ambassador
under Trump and is expected to launch her candidacy next week.
Sanders' predecessor, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, is also considering
seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Hutchinson has been an
outspoken critic of Trump and has said Trump being the GOP's nominee would be
the "worst scenario" for the party.
Sanders, who served roughly two years as White House press secretary,
focused heavily on her criticism of Biden during her successful bid for
governor last year. She frequently railed against the Democratic president's
COVID-19 pandemic response, immigration policies and other stances.
But since the election, Sanders has mostly avoided weighing in on Trump, who
endorsed her bid for governor and was featured in her campaign materials.
Sanders hasn't said whether she plans to endorse Trump, who's making a third
bid for president.
In her speech Tuesday, Sanders praised her time in the Trump administration
and the work they accomplished. She also talked about her diagnosis last year
with thyroid cancer, and said she is cancer-free after undergoing surgery.
Sanders also embraced the criticism of technology companies that has become
a rallying cry for Republicans after Trump was suspended from social media
sites following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Trump has since been reinstated
on Twitter, and Meta last month said the former president's Facebook and
Instagram accounts will be restored.
In her speech, Sanders complained that "big government colludes with Big
Tech to strip away the most American thing there is -- your freedom of speech."
"That's not normal. It's crazy, and it's wrong," she said.
Sanders portrayed Biden as weak on national security, saying his "refusal to
stand up to China, our most formidable adversary, is dangerous and
unacceptable." The comment came days after the American military shot down a
suspected Chinese spy balloon that drifted through U.S. airspace.
Officials have said other Chinese balloons transited the U.S. airspace at
least briefly at multiple points during the Trump administration but those
incursions were not detected until after Biden took office.
The culture wars are familiar territory for Sanders, who signed executive
orders within hours of taking office that were cheered by conservatives. They
included a prohibition on teaching critical race theory in public schools and a
ban on most state agencies using the gender-neutral term Latinx.
Sanders has also said she'd support Arkansas enacting a measure similar to
Florida's law banning instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in
kindergarten through third grade. Critics have dubbed Florida's measure the
"Don't Say Gay" law.
The president, who's expected to announce in the next few months that he'll
seek reelection, faces a tough political environment and a divided Congress.
Polling released this week by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public
Affairs Research showed just 37% of Democrats say they want him to seek a
Sanders delivered the speech the day before she's set to unveil an education
proposal she's called her priority in this year's legislative session. Sanders
has said the proposal will include teacher pay raises and some form of school
choice that would allow public money to pay for private schooling.
"We will educate, not indoctrinate our kids, and put students on a path to
success," she said.