Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, criticizing the Biden administration on crime, inflation, and Russia’s place in the world, saying it feels like the U.S. has reverted to the late 70s and early 80s. 

Reynolds said she’s “worried our country is on the wrong track,” and the president’s approach has been “too little, too late.” 

“Instead of moving America forward, it feels like President Biden and his party have sent us back in time to the late ’70s and early ’80s, when runaway inflation was hammering families, a violent crime wave was crashing on our cities, and the Soviet army was trying to redraw the world map,” she said. 

Before he took office, the president pledged restoration abroad and unity at home, she said. 


Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements/the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images

“He’s failed on both fronts,” Reynolds said, harkening back to the “disastrous” Afghanistan withdrawal. 

The opposing party’s selection of a person to deliver the response to the State of the Union is always closely watched, often signaling where the party wants to go and potentially identifying someone the party sees as an up-and-coming leader. Reynolds, a grandmother of 11 and Iowa’s first female governor, has been in office since 2017.  

Reynolds said the Biden administration “believes inflation is a ‘high-class problem,'” but that wasn’t true decades ago, and isn’t now, she said. 

“I can tell you it’s an everybody problem,” she said. “I saw moms’ and dads’ paychecks buy them less and less. I watched working people choosing which essentials to take home and which ones to leave behind. And now President Biden’s decisions have a whole new generation feeling that same pain.”

“Thankfully,” the president’s social spending plan — the Build Back Better Act — didn’t pass, she said, noting that members of the president’s own party blocked it. 

Reynolds also honed in on schools and parental rights, something that has been a focus for Republicans during the pandemic and arguably helped Governor Glenn Youngkin win in Virginia in November. She blasted Democrats for requiring masks in schools, while some go unmasked themselves. Iowa was the first state in the nation to require schools to open in person during the pandemic, Reynolds noted. 

“I was attacked by the left; I was attacked by the media. But it wasn’t a hard choice. It was the right choice,” she said. “And keeping schools open is only the start of the pro-parent, pro-family revolution that Republicans are leading in Iowa and states across this country. Republicans believe that parents matter. It was true before the pandemic and has never been more important to say out loud: Parents Matter. They have a right to know, and to have a say in, what their kids are being taught.”

Reynolds urged Mr. Biden to put his faith in the American people, “who have never waived in your belief in this country, regardless of who leads it.” 

As Reynolds delivered her remarks, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the president’s speech “showed he fails to grasp the hurt his policies have caused American families.”

“He did not take responsibility for his failures, offered no real solutions to the many crises Americans are facing, and instead doubled down on his disastrous and polarizing agenda,” McDaniel said. “Americans are struggling and Biden once again ignored them. Republicans will hold Biden and Democrats accountable in November.”