MSNBC stars take turns jabbing Kim Reynolds' Republican rebuttal to Biden State of the Union

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address

MSNBC stars took turns mocking Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who gave the GOP rebuttal to President Biden’s State of the Union address. 

Rachel Maddow, who reemerged from her lengthy hiatus for MSNBC’s coverage of Biden’s speech, kicked off the panel discussion by acknowledging that giving the response to the president’s State of the Union address is “one of the hardest jobs in national politics,” urging viewers to “spare a thought” for Reynolds. 

But after expressing sympathy, Maddow took a swipe at the Iowa governor, noting that while giving the response the State of the Union address is often a “springboard” for an unknown politician towards national ambitions, “I don’t think there’s any risk of that this evening.”

MSNBC star Rachel Maddow.  (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell alleged the “headline” was that Reynolds “completely agrees with Joe Biden, the State of the Union is strong.” 

O’Donnell claimed her treatment of Ukraine was “minimal” and that the rest of her speech was “in the past,” knocking her mentions of lockdowns and mask mandates and how the speech will feel “increasingly odd” if there isn’t a new COVID variance since such restrictions have now largely been lifted.

MSNBC political analyst Claire McCaskill echoed O’Donnell, insisting Reynolds and Republicans at large will solely focus on “the tyranny of masks and vaccinations, crime, the border, repeat.”

FILE – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State address before a joint session of the Iowa Legislature, on Jan. 11, 2022, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. Union address. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

“Deadline: White House” host Nicolle Wallace quipped that Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is “hopefully calling asking for his stump speech back,” noting that “it worked” in the commonwealth and Republicans will “take a winning formula” since they are not “innovative campaigners.” She also agreed with O’Donnell, saying “children have been in school the entire time Joe Biden has been president.”

“My thought listening to the response was the speeches were inverted. President Joe Biden knew exactly what Republicans were going to say about him,” Wallace said. “His speech rebutted everything she said. And, but, that is the line of attack. Glenn Youngkin used it, in his view, to great effect. And you’re right, that’s the speech they’ll give all year.”

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace. (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

“I do think the importance of response – the opposition party response to the State of the Union is whether anybody notices what’s in it. And I do think in this case, no disrespect intended to Governor Reynolds, but I don’t think anybody is going to remember anything from the speech,” Maddow said. “It’s gonna be a night that’s remembered for the president’s speech, not for the Republican response.”

“ReidOut” host Joy Reid swiped Reynolds for using the “Youngkin formula” when it comes to education and attacked Republicans for claiming to be the “party of freedom” when it is “the party of active book bans.”

Meanwhile, MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin took to Twitter, tweeting “Marco Rubio might be off the hook for the worst response to a SOTU,” alluding to his infamous water bottle incident. 

However, as highlighted by ‘Habibi Bros.” podcast co-host Siraj Hashmi, Rubin previously praised the GOP senator’s speech, writing in 2013 that Rubio “responds and shines.”

“Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) did not disappoint tonight, showing a fresher face and more dynamic brand of conservatism –- presented by a fresher and more dynamic face,” Rubin wrote at the time. “He appeared relaxed and jovial throughout, hardly the stereotype of the angry Republican… As a TV communicator, he did the best job of any State of the Union respondent I can recall.”

“Rubio’s speech was more substantive than many State of the Union responses, but plainly this was a showcase for him. He’s a charismatic figure, not unlike the president once was. He is young, but will on the national stage become more commanding. He can tell what conservatives believe in terms voters can understand. If the GOP can piggy-back on his personality and adopt his tone, it will be on the comeback trail. And he, tonight, no doubt began his 2016 presidential quest,” Rubin later added.

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