President Joe Biden showed solidarity with Ukraine, discussed fighting inflation, derided the idea of defunding police departments, and called for a $15 federal minimum wage and bringing manufacturing jobs back to America in his wide-ranging State of the Union address Tuesday night.
The hour-long speech was also filled with plenty of humorous or just plain head-scratching moments that lit up social media, with many of Google’s and Twitter’s trends coming from Biden’s address, or the guests and lawmakers inside the House Chamber.
Missed it? Here are nine of the most viral moments that everyone will be talking about:
This was the first State of the Union helmed by a female vice president and speaker of the House
Many viewers noted the significance of having two women sitting in those positions of power on the first day of Women’s History month. “For the first time ever, the SOTU will start with ‘Madam Speaker. Madam Vice President,’ ” tweeted Scott Dworkin, executive director of the Democratic Coalition. “Madame Speaker and Madame Vice President running the room makes me feel better,” wrote another viewer.
Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova got a bipartisan standing ovation
Biden opened his speech addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “unprovoked and premeditated” attack on Ukraine, which he said ultimately will make “Russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger.” Biden then asked everyone in the House chamber who was able to stand up in a show of solidarity for Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova, who was seated beside first lady Jill Biden. Markarova was visibly moved by the bipartisan standing ovation she received, placing a hand over her heart and bowing her head.
Many lawmakers also wore blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine’s flag, in another nod to the country. Many held small flags, as well. Biden announced that the U.S. government is banning all Russian aircraft from U.S. airspace.
Did Biden just say ‘Iranians’?
Biden went off-script a few times during his address, with the most notable being when he appeared to say “Iranians” instead of “Ukrainians” while his prepared speech had him averring that Putin “will never gain the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian people.” This led “Did Biden … ” and “Iranian” to top Twitter trends on Tuesday night, as viewers including conservatives like Anne Coulter and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., pounced on the gaffe.
Other viewers thought they heard him say “Uranians,” as in natives of the planet Uranus.
At another point, Biden said “a pound of Ukrainians” instead of the “proud Ukrainians” that was written in the text of his address. He found his way back to the prepared text after the errant clause “And a pound of Ukrainian people” by saying, “Proud, proud people, pound for pound, ready to fight with every inch of energy they have.”
That led to plenty of other jokes on Twitter, such as “how many pounds of Ukrainian are worth an Iranian?”
13-year-old Joshua Davis stole the show
Speaking of winning hearts and minds, another special guest in attendance was Joshua Davis, 13, from Virginia, who has Type 1 diabetes. The president pointed out the bespectacled teen in the snazzy suit as an example of an American paying too much for life-saving insulin, and urged cutting the cost of prescription drugs. Biden also noted that Davis had turned 13 on Monday, which led to social-media posts along the lines of “best birthday ever” and “Joshua for president.”
Chuck Schumer made himself a meme
As Biden was discussing his Build Back Better plan, the Democratic leader of the Senate prematurely stood to applaud before any of his fellow Dems did — and while many Republicans were busy booing the president’s spending package. The unintentionally hilarious scene saw Schumer stand up, take in all of the booing, and then hurriedly sit back down. “We’ve all been there,” tweeted one viewer, along with the awkward clip.
That led Schumer’s name to trend on Tuesday night, as well.
‘Fund the police. Fund them!
“Fund the police” was trending on Twitter after Biden called for pouring more money into training law-enforcement officers and giving them the resources they need to protect their communities. “We should all agree, the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them! Fund them!” Biden exclaimed.
This drew swift criticism from many supporters of police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement. “With all due respect, Mr. President. You didn’t mention saving Black lives once in this speech,” tweeted Rep. Cori Bush, a progressive Democrat and former activist from Missouri. “All our country has done is given more funding to police. The result? 2021 set a record for fatal police shootings.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert heckled Biden
The often controversial Republicans have no love lost for Biden, and there were at least two notable points in the night when they interrupted his address.
While Biden was discussing border security, Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., were both heard chanting “Build the wall! Build the wall!” in the background. Reuters reported that a Democrat told them to “sit down.”
And while Biden was talking about providing more support to American troops, and discussed how some including his late son, Beau, were dying from cancer and being placed in flag-draped coffins, Boebert yelled out, “You put them in, 13 of them,” which drew boos. She was referring to 13 soldiers who died in a terrorist attack during the the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.
“When Biden said flag draped coffins I couldn’t stay silent,” she tweeted afterward. “I told him directly he did it. He put 13 in there.”
But on Wednesday morning, both her name and Greene’s were trending along with terms like “classless” as some viewers argued their outbursts were disrespectful.
Justice Breyer took the most adorable bow
However, both sides of the aisle did come together to give retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer his due, as the president congratulated him for his lifetime of service. And Breyer’s “aw, shucks” response couldn’t have been more endearing. As Biden told him to stand up and take a bow, the 83-year-old judge put his hands over his heart, and then buried his face in his hands.
Biden also took the opportunity to talk up his pick to replace Breyer: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She actually clerked for Breyer, and would be the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.
‘You think the deer are wearing Kevlar vests?’
Biden brought out an oldie, but arguably a goodie, in discussing gun control: namely, banning assault weapons with high-capacity magazines. He joked that hunters don’t need these, saying: “You think the deer are wearing Kevlar vests?”
It’s a line he also used a year ago in his first speech before Congress, when he said, “Talk to most responsible gun owners and hunters — they’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having a hundred rounds in a weapon. What, do you think deer are wearing Kevlar vests?”