Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is set to deliver the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday.
McConnell and McCarthy in their statement lauded Sanders, who will give her remarks from Little Rock as the nation’s youngest governor and a champion of conservative principles.
“While President Biden keeps repeating old mistakes and failing Americans, a rising generation of Republican Governors are fighting for families, advancing new solutions, and winning,” McConnell said.
McCarthy praised the former Trump White House press secretary for pushing the “conservative agenda outside of Washington” and emphasized that “everyone, including President Biden, should listen carefully” to her speech next week.
Sanders said she’s planning to “contrast the GOP’s optimistic vision for the future against the failures of President Biden and the Democrats” in her remarks.
“We are ready to begin a new chapter in the story of America – to be written by a new generation of leaders ready to defend our freedom against the radical left and expand access to quality education, jobs, and opportunity for all,” Sanders said.
The party that’s not in control of the White House selects a speaker, often a rising star within the party, each year to give an on-air rebuttal after the president’s much-anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress.
Last year, McConnell and then-House Minority Leader McCarthy selected Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to deliver the GOP’s response to Biden’s 2022 State of the Union, citing the governor’s action on top GOP culture war issues after Reynolds banned teaching critical race theory in Iowa schools. Critical race theory is a legal framework that posits that systemic racism is evident in U.S. institutions and policy.
Reynolds was the first woman elected to the Iowa governor’s mansion — and Sanders is the first woman to serve in the top office in Arkansas.
“I can’t wait for your Official GOP Response to Biden’s SOTU Address. I am so proud to call you a friend and a fellow Governor! Republican Governors are delivering on our promises, and you’re just getting started!” Reynolds said of Sanders after the announcement
Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only Black GOP senator, delivered the party’s response to Biden’s address the previous year.
“Let ‘em have it, @SarahHuckabee. America is ready to return to normalcy and common sense. I can’t wait to hear you deliver the GOP’s blueprint for how we’ll continue to hold Biden accountable for his failures as president,” Scott said on Twitter.
Sanders’s remarks this year will be aired on national television after Biden’s speech, which is set to start around 9 p.m. EST this coming Tuesday night.
—Updated at 6:58 p.m.