‘Dramatic,’ ‘creepy’ and ‘insincere’: Republican Katie Britt’s SOTU rebuttal is the butt of the joke

‘Seriously, the Katie Britt response is scary as s***. This is like a sci-fi movie. This is Handmaid’s Tale coming to life,’ one person posted on X

Gustaf Kilander,Mike Bedigan
Friday 08 March 2024 15:05 GMT
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Related video: Biden faces down Republican heckling, urges action on border bill

Alabama Senator Katie Britt slammed President Joe Biden on border security, calling him a “dithering and diminished leader” in her response to the State of the Union.

But, it was her own emotional and indignant speech that was widely mocked as “dramatic,” “creepy,” and “insincere” online.

Ms Britt, who at 42 is the youngest Republican woman to serve in the US Senate, was chosen to deliver the opposition party’s rebuttal speech to the president’s address.

Ms Britt sat at her kitchen table as she eviscerated Mr Biden on a wide range of issues, including the conflicts in the Middle East, the economy, and the “American dream” becoming a “nightmare”.

But her main focus, as it is for many Republicans, was the US’s southern border with Mexico.

“President Biden inherited the most secure border of all time. But minutes after taking office, he suspended all deportations, halted construction of the border wall, and announced a plan to give amnesty to millions,” she argued in her rebuttal.

Mr Biden has lambasted Republicans for rejecting a border security deal with some tough measures to stem the flow of border crossings, after former president Donald Trump came out against it – not wanting to hand Mr Biden another bipartisan legislative accomplishment ahead of the election.

“We know that President Biden didn’t just create this border crisis. He invited it with 94 executive actions in his first 100 days … President Biden’s border crisis is a disgrace. It’s despicable. And it’s almost entirely preventable,” Ms Britt said.

Her speech was mocked online, with journalist Aaron Rupar calling it “overly dramatic” while another X user said: “This is so creepy and insincere. Worst acting I’ve ever seen.”

“There is no way that this Katie Britt address does not end up as part of the SNL cold open,” Tom Nichols of The Atlantic wrote.

Author Jeff Sharlet noted: “The transformation in Senator Britt’s face--all big teeth and sparkle cross--when she starts talking about how *mad* she is that we’re not deporting more immigrants is really something. Pundits say she distanced GOP from Trump. No--this is the face of the Trumpocene.”

A Republican congressional staffer told Insider that the speech was “giving high school freshman speech”.

“She really thinks she’s killing it. But it’s comical. Like SNL quality,” the staffer added.

Podcaster and Daily Beast columnist David Rothkopf added: “Seriously, the Katie Britt response is scary as s***. This is like a sci-fi movie. This is Handmaid’s Tale coming to life.”

CNN analyst and former Trump White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah Griffin wrote: “Senator Katie Britt is a very impressive person. She ran a hell of race in AL. I do not understand the decision to put her in a *KITCHEN* for one of the most important speeches she’s ever given.”

Last month, the Alabama outlet AL.com reported that all eight Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation were opposed to the proposed border legislation.

“At every step along the way, President Biden has made it clear that he doesn’t want to end the border crisis - he wants to enable it,” she wrote on X on 5 February. “I won’t support this supplemental funding bill, because it would not effectively stop President Biden from continuing his mass migration agenda.”

Mr Biden spoke about the bill in his forceful address on Thursday night.

“That bipartisan bill would hire 1500 more security agents and officers, 100 more immigration judges, help tackle the backlog of two million cases,” he said.

“4,300 more asylum officers and new policy so they can resolve cases in six months instead of six years now.”

Elsewhere in her speech, Ms Britt argued that: “From fentanyl poisonings to horrific murders, there are empty chairs tonight at kitchen tables, just like this one, because of President Biden's senseless border policies.”

“Just think about Laken Riley. In my neighbouring state of Georgia, this beautiful 22-year-old nursing student went out on a jog one morning ... she never got the opportunity to return home. She was brutally murdered by one of the millions of illegal border crossers President Biden chose to release into our homeland,” she added. “As a mom, I can't quit thinking about this. I mean, this could have been my daughter. This could have been yours. And tonight, President Biden finally said her name but he refused to take responsibility for his own actions.”

“Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal,” Mr Biden said in an unscripted moment as he picked up the pin handed to him before the speech by Georgia Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“To her parents. I say my heart goes out to you, having lost children myself – I understand,” Mr Biden told Ms Riley’s parents. “But look if we change the dynamic at the border ... people pay the smugglers 8,000 bucks to get across the border because they know if they get ... into the country – It’s six to eight years before they have a hearing. And it’s worth taking the chance ... But if it’s only six months, six weeks.”

“The idea is it’s highly unlikely that people will pay that money and [go] all that way knowing that they’ll be able to be kicked out quickly. I would respectfully suggest to my Republican friends ... to the American people – get this bill done. We need to act now,” he added.

Towards the end of her speech, Ms Britt struck a more hopeful note, saying that “every generation has been called to do hard things. American greatness rest in the fact that we always answer that call”.

“It's who we are. Never forget, we are steeped in the blood of patriots who overthrew the most powerful empire in the world. We walk in the footsteps of pioneers who tamed the wild. We now carry forward the same flame of freedom as the liberators of an oppressed Europe,” she added.

Ms Britt’s journey to Congress began in June 2021 when she announced her candidacy for the 2022 Senate election in Alabama – having never previously run for public office.

Alabama Senator Katie Britt
Alabama Senator Katie Britt (britt.senate.gov)

Ms Britt publicly aligned herself with Donald Trump, though despite alleging there may have been “fraud” during the 2020 election, has never claimed that it was “stolen”, as the former president has done consistently since he left office.

Mr Trump officially endorsed Ms Britt on 10 June 2022, calling her a “fearless America First warrior,” and she won the general election on 8 November.

Ms Britt took office on 3 January 2023, making her the first woman elected a US senator from the state.

“Right now, our Commander in Chief is not in command,” she said of Mr Biden on Thursday. “The free world deserves better than a dithering and diminished leader. America deserves leaders who recognize that secure borders, stable prices, safe streets, and a strong defense are the cornerstones of a great nation.”

The practice of providing a response to the State of the Union address began in 1966 when Republican Senator Everett Dirksen and Representative Gerald Ford offered a televised response to the address by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson.

Four presidents have given both a State of the Union address and an opposition response, including Ford, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden.

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