LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening, slamming the administration for “high gas prices, empty grocery shelves’ and teaching children to “hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country.”
Sanders, 40, served as former President Donald Trump’s White House press secretary. She was elected governor of Arkansas, the state’s first female governor, in November.
Here are her full remarks, as prepared for delivery.
“Good evening. I’m Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“Being a mom to three young children taught me not to believe every story I hear. So forgive me for not believing much of anything I heard tonight from President Biden. From out-of-control inflation and violent crime to the dangerous border crisis and threat from China, Biden and the Democrats have failed you.
“They know it. And you know it.
“It’s time for a change.
“Tonight, let us reaffirm our commitment to a timeless American idea: that government exists not to rule the people, but to serve the people.
“Democrats want to rule us with more government control, but that is not who we are. America is the greatest country the world has ever known because we are the freest country the world has ever known, with a people who are strong and resilient.
“Five months ago, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It was a hard time for our family, particularly for our kids – Scarlett, Huck, and George – but we kept our faith and persevered.
“Thanks to exceptional doctors here in Arkansas, a successful surgery, and the grace of God, I am cancer-free.
“Through it all, I couldn’t help but think about my mom.
“She was 20 years old and in her first year of marriage when she was diagnosed with spinal cancer. The doctors told her she might not live. If she did live, they said she’d never walk again, and if she did walk, she’d definitely never have children.
“The daughter she was told she’d never have was just sworn in as the new Governor of Arkansas and is speaking to you tonight.
“Adversity and fear of the unknown can paralyze us, but faith propels us to charge boldly ahead.
“We can’t stand still in the face of great challenges. You and I were put on this earth for such a time as this to charge boldly ahead.
“I’ll be the first to admit, President Biden and I don’t have a lot in common.
“I’m for freedom. He’s for government control.
“At 40, I’m the youngest governor in the country. At 80, he’s the oldest president in American history.
“I’m the first woman to lead my state. He’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is.
“In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire, but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country.
“Whether Joe Biden believes this madness or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left.
“The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left.
“The choice is between normal or crazy.
“It is time for a new generation of Republican leadership.
“Upon taking office just a few weeks ago I signed Executive Orders to ban CRT, racism, and indoctrination in our schools, eliminate the use of the derogatory term ‘Latinx’ in our government, repealed COVID orders and said never again to authoritarian mandates and shutdowns.
“Americans want common sense from their leaders, but in Washington, the Biden administration is doubling down on crazy.
“President Biden inherited the fastest economic recovery on record. The most secure border in history. Cheap abundant, home-grown energy. Fast-rising wages. A rebuilt military. And a world that was stable and at peace. But over the last two years, Democrats destroyed it all.
“Despite Democrats’ trillions in reckless spending and mountains of debt, we now have the worst border crisis in American history.
“As a mom, my heart breaks for every parent who has lost a son or daughter to addiction. 100,000 Americans a year are now killed from drug overdoses, largely from fentanyl pouring in across our southern border. Yet the Biden administration refuses to secure the border and save American lives.
“And after years of Democrat attacks on law enforcement and calls to ‘defund the police’, violent criminals roam free, while law-abiding families live in fear.
“Beyond our border, from Afghanistan to Ukraine, from North Korea to Iran, President Biden’s weakness puts our nation and the world at risk.
“And the President’s refusal to stand up to China, our most formidable adversary, is dangerous and unacceptable.
“President Biden is unwilling to defend our border, defend our skies, and defend our people. He is unfit to serve as commander in chief.
“And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day. Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight.
“Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols, all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is—your Freedom of speech.
“That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.
“Make no mistake: Republicans will not surrender this fight. We will lead with courage and do what’s right, not what’s politically correct or convenient.
“Republicans believe in an America where strong families thrive in safe communities. Where jobs are abundant, and paychecks are rising. Where the freedom our veterans shed their blood to defend is the birthright of every man, woman, and child.
“These are the principles Republican governors are fighting for. And in Washington under the leadership of Senate Republicans and Speaker Kevin McCarthy, we will hold the Biden administration accountable.
“Down the street from where I sit is my alma mater, Little Rock Central High. As a student there, I will never forget watching my dad, Governor Mike Huckabee, and President Bill Clinton hold the doors open to the Little Rock Nine, doors that forty years earlier had been closed to them because they were black. Today, those children once barred from the schoolhouse are now heroes memorialized in bronze at our statehouse.
“I’m proud of the progress our country has made. And I believe giving every child access to a quality education – regardless of their race or income – is the civil rights issue of our day.
“Tomorrow, I will unveil an education package that will be the most far-reaching, bold, conservative education reform in the country.
“My plan empowers parents with real choices, improves literacy and career readiness, and helps put a good teacher in every classroom by increasing their starting salary from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the nation.
“Here in Arkansas and across America, Republicans are working to end the policy of trapping kids in failing schools and sentencing them to a lifetime of poverty.
“We will educate, not indoctrinate our kids, and put students on a path to success.
“It’s time for a new generation to lead. This is our moment. This is our opportunity.
“A new generation born in the waning decades of the last century, shaped by economic booms and stock market busts, forged by the triumph of the Cold War and the tragedy of 9/11. A generation brimming with passion and new ideas to solve age-old problems. A generation moored to our deepest values and oldest traditions, yet unafraid to challenge the present order and find a better way forward.
“If we seize this moment together, America can once again be the land of the free and home of the brave.
“During my two and a half years at the White House, I traveled on every foreign trip with the President.
“A trip I will never forget was on December 25, 2018.
“My husband Bryan and I had just cleaned up wrapping paper that had been shoved into every corner of our house thanks to our three kids, when I had to walk out on my own family’s Christmas, unable to tell them where I was going, because the place I’d be traveling to was so dangerous they didn’t want anybody to know that the President was going to be on the ground for even a few hours.
“We boarded Air Force One in total darkness—there were no lights on the plane, no lights on the runway, our phones and computers shut down and turned in. We were going completely off the grid.
“Nearly twelve hours later in the pitch-black of the night, we landed in the war-torn part of western Iraq. It was again a similar scene—no lights on the plane, no lights on the runway.
“The only light you could see was coming from about a mile away in a dining hall where hundreds of troops—who were in the fight against ISIS— had gathered, expecting to celebrate Christmas with senior military leadership from around the region.
“They had absolutely no idea that the President and First Lady were about to walk into that room.
“And when they did—it was a sight, and a scene, and a sound I hope I never forget.
“The room erupted. Men and women from every race, religion, and region, every political party, every demographic you can imagine started chanting in perfect unison over and over and over again, ‘USA, USA, USA.’
“It was a perfect picture of what makes our country great.
“One of the young soldiers yelled from the back, ‘Mr. President, I reenlisted in the military because of you.’ The President said, ‘and son, I am here because of you.’
“Shortly after, that young soldier came up to me and said, ‘Sarah, you have a tough job.’ I told him ‘What I do is nothing. You take bombs and bullets. That’s a tough job.’
“And in a moment that I know I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, that soldier reached up, and pulled the Brave Rifles Patch he wore on his shoulder and placed it into my hand, a sign of ultimate respect, and said, ‘Sarah, we are in this together.’
“Overwhelmed with emotion and speechless, I just hugged him, with tears in my eyes and a grateful heart for our heroes who keep us free.
“That young man and everyone who has served before him, all of those who serve alongside him, and the thousands we know who will be called upon to serve after him, deserve to know they have a country and community back home doing our part in the fight for freedom.
“America is great because we are free.
“But today, our freedom is under attack, and the America we love is in danger.
“President Biden and the Democrats have failed you.
“It’s time for a change.
“A New Generation of Republican leaders is stepping up, not to be caretakers of the status quo, but to be changemakers for the American people.
“We know not what the future holds, but we know who holds the future in His hands. And with God as our witness, we will show the world that America is still the place where freedom reins and liberty will never die.
“Thank you. God bless you. And God Bless America.”