Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) delivered the Republican response to President Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday night. She gave her speech standing in front of the Iowa State Capitol, wearing a pin of crossed American and Ukrainian flags.
Reynolds began by criticizing Biden's foreign policy record, especially the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, and argued that U.S. sanctions on Russia are inadequate. "Weakness on the world stage has a cost, and the president's response has consistently been too little too late," Reynolds argued.
Turning to domestic issues, she recalled working as a grocery store cashier in the 1980s and seeing how devastating high inflation was for working-class Americans.
Reynolds slammed Biden for what she described as the reckless spending contained in his stalled Build Back Better bill. "Even members of his own party said, 'Enough is enough,'" she said.
She then waded into hot-button cultural issues, telling her audience that Americans are "tired of people pretending the way to end racism is by categorizing everybody by their race," of "politicians who tell parents they should ... let government control their kids' education and future," and of COVID-19 "theater."
Reynolds also addressed rising violent crime, blaming "liberal prosecutors" for "letting criminals off easy" and alleging that "many prominent Democrats still want to defund the police."
Reynolds then pivoted to Republicans' accomplishments, beginning with many GOP governors' refusal to allow strict COVID-19 lockdowns, mandates, and school closures.
Iowa, she boasted, "was the first state in the nation to require that schools open their doors."
On the economic front, Reynolds touted her tax cuts in Iowa and noted that of the 20 states with the lowest unemployment rates in the country, 17 have Republican governors.
"Republicans may not have the White House, but we're doing what we can to fill the leadership vacuum," she said. "We're respecting your freedom."