US president Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered his first state of the union address where he criticised Russian president Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine, announced that he was building a task force to go after Russian oligarchs, outlined efforts to revitalise the US economy and discussed a roadmap to generate more income and jobs.
The address was attended by Ukrainian envoy to the US Oksana Markarova, and Frances Haugen, the former Facebook employee who exposed what the social media company knew about the damage caused by its platforms to people of certain age groups.
Joshua Davis, a young boy with Type-1 diabetes, was also present and was greeted with cheers when US president Biden said that insulin costs should be capped and affordable healthcare should be accessible to all Americans.
Here are some of the top quotes from Biden’s address:
“Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression they cause more chaos. Putin’s latest attack on Ukraine was premeditated and unprovoked. He rejected repeated efforts at diplomacy. He thought the West and NATO wouldn’t respond. And he thought he could divide us at home. Putin was wrong,” Biden said.
Biden also said that Russian oligarchs would be rid of their ‘ill-begotten’ wealth.
“The US department of justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs. We are joining with our European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments and their private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” he added.
“When the history of this era is written, Putin’s war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger,” the US president said.
“Our forces are not engaged and will not engage in conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine. Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO Allies – in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west,” he also said.
On American economy
“Our economy created over 6.5 Million new jobs just last year, more jobs created in one year than ever before in the history of America. Our economy grew at a rate of 5.7% last year, the strongest growth in nearly 40 years, the first step in bringing fundamental change to an economy that hasn’t worked for the working people of this nation for too long,” Biden said.
“We’ll build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, begin to replace poisonous lead pipes—so every child—and every American—has clean water to drink at home and at school, provide affordable high-speed internet for every American—urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities,” he further added.
“We will buy American to make sure everything from the deck of an aircraft carrier to the steel on highway guardrails are made in America,” the US president said vowing to build in America.
“Thanks to the progress we have made this past year, COVID-19 need no longer controls our lives. I know some are talking about “living with COVID-19”. Tonight – I say that we will never just accept living with COVID-19. We will continue to combat the virus as we do other diseases. And because this is a virus that mutates and spreads, we will stay on guard,” Biden said.
“We’re launching the “Test to Treat” initiative so people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they’re positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost,” he further added.
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