Perry: Biden needs to show a steady hand on the wheel during SOTU address

Mar 1, 2022, 5:41 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:52 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address Tuesday night in the midst of soaring inflation, poor approval ratings, and an escalating international crisis in Europe.

The director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah talked about what the president can do to try to unite Americans.

“They’re going to want a sense that there’s some confidence from the White House, there’s a steady hand on the wheel,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Biden already had plenty of pressing problems to deal with before Russia invaded Ukraine, giving him one more crisis demanding action, Perry said.

Americans are anxious, frustrated and looking for hope. So, the president needs to demonstrate leadership in the midst of crisis.

“This is a critical speech for him,” Perry said. “He has to get this one right. The world is uneasy, there is unrest everywhere, and the American people are looking for the president to step up and provide some assurances this evening.”

As the leader of the free world, Perry said, Biden needs to say the right things because the global balance of power is at stake.

“He’s going to talk about world security. He’s going to talk about democracy. He’s going to talk about we are at a critical moment, not just for the United States, but for the world,” the institute director said.

Perry believes the president will pledge unwavering support for Ukraine without committing troops. He does not think the president will pull any punches with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But, Biden needs to share details about what American support for Ukraine is going to look like.

“The world is behind Ukraine, so I think that is really something the president is going to harness and it’s not going to be just democracy center stage,” Perry said. “It’s going to be about the importance of our place in the world and the world coming together to stop aggression wherever it comes forward.”

But, Biden also needs to give Americans assurances about their own lives. Inflation is at a 40-year high, and people are fed up and exhausted after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perry sees it as an opportunity for the president to push for unity.

“There are some issues that are so important to America, so important to the world, that I think he’ll try to grab that and say the things that unite us are more than those that divide us. And really, we have a chance right now to stand together on the world stage and make everyone more secure.”

Perry called this speech a tall order because there’s a lot riding on it.
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Perry: Biden needs to show a steady hand on the wheel during SOTU address