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DC Edit | Biden takes aim at Trump



A combative US President Joe Biden presented not just a fiery “State of the Union” speech at Capitol Hill. In an hour-long declaration, he delivered a clear statement of intent, a “state of Biden” as it were, in projecting himself as a capable candidate for re-election.

His adversary, Mr Donald Trump, was not in the chamber, but was clearly the elephant in the room as Mr Biden portrayed himself in sharp contrast to his challenger, whom he referred to 13 times as his “predecessor” even as he spoke up on myriad issues, especially the economy, the border and the abortion restrictions that will come up again and again in the election year.

The clearer message, as Mr Biden often raised his voice and went off the teleprompter script to take on directly the Republicans in impromptu asides, was that this is no fumbling 81-year-old who many Americans may consider as too old to be running for the highest office.

The Republicans, sensing an attack in what they believed was becoming an overly partisan speech, got emotional and heckled the President even as they displayed their MAGA credo on caps and attire.

There was very little unsaid on the contentious issues facing a deeply polarised nation though at times his fellow Democrats, too, took their leader on, particularly when Mr Biden had to address the Gaza war and his career-long support for Israel.

While on a difficult, emotive topic as innocent Palestinians die in Gaza in Israel’s retribution for the October 7 attack, Mr Biden tried to find a balance, making public his initiative to deploy a floating pier to facilitate the shipping of large amounts of aid by sea and reiterating the two-state principle and his sympathy for those suffering the rave humanitarian crisis.

Ticking off Mr Trump for not doing his basic duty of protecting the American people in the Covid-19 crisis and faulting him for the January 6 insurrection, Mr Biden enunciated his position clearly, and with no hint of the mental slips he may have suffered in his interactions with the media.

But then Mr Trump, aged 78 to Mr Biden’s 81, too, has mixed up the name of his wife while speaking in public, which just goes to show that this great battle for the US presidency in November is also going to be a battle of the geriatrics.



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