House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), as is customary for those who wield the gavel, issued a formal invitation last week for President Joe Biden to deliver the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
That same day, the White House announced that President Biden had decided to accept Speaker McCarthy’s invitation to deliver the annual address on February 7, the Conservative Brief reported.
This event will be different than the president’s previous two major speeches before Congress, as unlike during his Joint Address in 2021 and first State of the Union address in 2022, this one will be delivered to a legislative body under divided control and it will be a partisan opponent, McCarthy, sitting on the dais behind him instead of an ally like former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
McCarthy invites Biden to deliver SOTU speech
On Friday, Speaker McCarthy posted to Twitter, “It is my solemn obligation to invite the president to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on February 7th so that he may fulfill his duty under the Constitution to report on the state of the union.”
It is my solemn obligation to invite the president to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on February 7th so that he may fulfill his duty under the Constitution to report on the state of the union. pic.twitter.com/YBmzLxs3Iz
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) January 13, 2023
Attached to that tweet was a photo of the formal letter McCarthy had sent to President Biden, which read, according to The Hill, “The new year brings a new Congress, and with it, a responsibility to work towards an economy that is strong, a nation that is safe, a future that is built on freedom, and a government that is accountable.”
“The American people sent us to Washington to deliver a new direction for the country, to find common ground, and to debate their priorities,” he continued.
“In that spirit, it is my solemn obligation to invite you to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, so that you may fulfill your duty under the Constitution to report on the state of the union,” McCarthy added. “Your remarks will inform our efforts to address the priorities of the American people.”
White House responds to SOTU invite
In response to that invitation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a formal statement on Friday that said, “The President is grateful for and accepts Speaker McCarthy’s prompt invitation to address the people’s representatives in Congress.”
“He looks forward to speaking with Republicans, Democrats, and the country about how we can work together to continue building an economy that works from the bottom up and the middle out, keep boosting our competitiveness in the world, keep the American people safe, and bring the country together,” she added.
That same day, Jean-Pierre was also asked during a press briefing about the invitation from McCarthy to Biden to deliver the State of the Union address next month, and actually had to be corrected by a reporter when she got the date of that upcoming event wrong.
“So, we have received Speaker McCarthy’s kind invitation, and the President has accepted it and looks forward to delivering the State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 17th of 2023,” the press secretary said.
When corrected that the speech was actually to be delivered on the 7th and not the 17th, Jean-Pierre exclaimed to laughter from the press pool, “Oh, my God. I’m so sorry, guys. On Tuesday, February 7th, 2023. But we truly appreciate the kind invitation by Speaker McCarthy.”
Later in the briefing, when asked if Biden had any plans to meet in person with McCarthy prior to the annual address, the press secretary simply noted that Biden had previously released a statement and made a phone call to congratulate McCarthy on winning the speakership but added that there was no “scheduled meeting to share” between the two at this point in time.