White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has responded to Republican House lawmakers Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene heckling President Joe Biden during his State of the Union speech.
Ms Boebert and Ms Greene heckled Mr Biden throughout his speech, including when the president spoke about his late son Beau Biden.
Ms Psaki was asked about the hecklers on Wednesday morning following the speech on Tuesday night.
“One of the headlines that emerged from the speech last night was a pair of Republican House members who chose to heckle President Biden as he was speaking about his late son, Beau. Do you have any response to what they said?” MSNBC host Jonathan Lemire asked the president’s chief spokesperson.
“Not really, Jonathan, I have to tell you that during that heckling, which, I was watching that on TV with a group of my team, team members and colleagues, and we were all excited and cheering,” Ms Psaki said.
“And that was the moment in the speech where the president was talking about his unity agenda, and talking about priorities that we should all be able to agree on. Look, one American dies every five minutes of an opioid overdose. There’s no question we should do more to help our nation’s veterans, people who have been hurt by the impacts of burn pits. Of course, we need to do more to work together to cure cancer,” she added.
“And they were heckling around that time and that moment. I think that says a lot more about them than it does about how important these priorities are, and how much the vast majority of people who are sitting there watching in that chamber last night could work together to solve exactly those problems,” Ms Psaki said. “And others too, probably.”
It was as Mr Biden was moving towards the end of his speech on Tuesday night that he spoke about his son, who died from cancer. Beau Biden was one of many veterans who were exposed to military burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, a practice that may have been toxic.
Ms Boebert, a Republican Colorado representative, blamed Mr Biden for the deaths of the 13 service members killed during the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.
“A cancer that put them in a flag-draped coffin” Mr Biden began to say when he was interrupted by Ms Boebert, who yelled, “You put them in. Thirteen of them!”
While Mr Biden’s speech had at times prompted both sides of the aisle to show their support, Ms Boebert’s outburst spurred Democrats to boo her.
“When Biden said flag draped coffins I couldn’t stay silent. I told him directly he did it. He put 13 in there. Our heroic servicemen and women deserve so much better,” Ms Boebert tweeted following the speech