House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that President Biden tried to bait Republicans into outbursts during his State of the Union address by making false claims they wanted to gut Social Security and Medicare, adding that his colleagues should “not take the bait.”
“The president was trying to goad the members, and the members are passionate about it. But the one thing the president was saying is something that he knew was not true. I just spent an hour with him. I’ve said it many times before Social Security and Medicare are off the table,” McCarthy told “Fox & Friends.”
“He tries to use it for a political ploy. But the one thing we need to be is we need to be smart. He’s trying to play politics with the debt ceiling by not negotiating, by lying about our position,” the GOP leader went on.
co-host Steve Doocy raised the incident by saying it appeared that Biden, 80, was “hoping to bait the Republicans into a reaction” by saying some GOPers wanted to “sunset” the social safety net programs.
“It looked like Joe Biden was standing up to the Republicans,” Doocy said, referencing polling that shows independents were “turned off” by the Republican heckling and remarking: “It looked like you were trying to shush your side of the aisle.”
McCarthy responded that Democrats raised the debt ceiling and then “blew through it.”
“We need to be smart. Don’t take the bait. Stay with the American public about what we want to do, curb this runaway spending that the president has been spending so much … There’s a lot of places that we could have savings to make government more accountable and actually put us on a path to balance,” the speaker said.
Despite Biden promising “unity” in his address to Congress, he sparked the loudest uproar of the night when he said: “Some Republicans – some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.
“I’m not saying it’s a majority,” the president added as the boos grew louder.
“Anybody who doubts it, contact my office. I’ll give you a copy. I’ll give you a copy of the proposal,” Biden went on.
“Liar,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) yelled out.
“I’m glad to see – no, I tell you, I enjoy conversion,” Biden responded, once again saying it wasn’t a majority of Republicans.
“I’m not - politely not naming them, but it’s being proposed by some of you.”
After several more moments of back-and-forth, Biden said “we all apparently agree” that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are “off the books” and was met with applause.