Far-right media mistake traditional Democratic politics during the State of the Union for “MAGA style policies”
In response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, several far-right media figures — including former President Donald Trump, Turning Point USA personality Charlie Kirk, and pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec — claimed that Biden had copied Trump’s “MAGA” rhetoric, ignoring that Biden’s economic proposals are consistent with traditional Democratic politics.
On February 7, Biden delivered the State of the Union address, largely speaking to the concerns of working Americans and pushing popular policies — such as increasing taxes on the wealthy, expanding rights for workers, and restricting excessive consumer fees — that have been advocated by Democratic leaders since the New Deal. Biden's focus on fighting for workers, tackling corporate greed, and investing in broadly shared economic prosperity builds upon the positions he staked out in his 2020 presidential campaign and which have defined his administration. Writing in The American Prospect, Harold Meyerson argued that Biden's speech “was almost a refoundation of American liberalism” and a return to progressive economic messaging that had long been supported by the Democratic Party.
Since his campaign started in 2015, Trump and his Republican allies have tried to appeal specifically to white working class Americans, branding themselves as the “working class party” and playing on white grievances while pushing for policies that wouldn’t actually benefit the middle class. During the 2016 election, observers made a point to highlight that Trump's so-called “populist” rhetoric seemed to directly co-opt the most successful economic messages of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), his ideological opposite.
During and after Biden’s address, far-right media ignored the Democratic Party’s long track record of advocating for working people and middle class families and instead claimed that Biden was pushing Trump’s MAGA policies and talking points.
- While Trump himself was giving a “play by play” on his Truth Social platform during the address, he posted that Biden used “my ‘Forgotten Men and Women,’ without saying they have been Forgotten by the Democrats, and helped by the Republicans and me!”
- Following the State of the Union address, far-right personality Charlie Kirk tweeted that he and right-wing American Principles Project senior fellow Pedro Gonzalez “both agree Biden’s speech was, surprisingly, kind of... MAGA?” and that “Biden appropriated themes from the nationalist movement and laced them into his speech.”
- Kirk further claimed that Democrats see “the path to victory in 2024 is through populism and nationalism” and that “people are yearning for national revival.”
- During Biden’s speech, pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec posted on Telegram that Biden was “stealing Trump's rhetoric from insulin pricing to jobs because he know MAGA is what the people want.”
- Posobiec further called Biden’s address “a false MAGA speech,” while claiming that “there’s a reason” that “Biden is barely talking about Ukraine, or about the LGBT agendas he supports. He's talking about American jobs, American workers, American trade.”
- In another post on Telegram following Biden’s speech, Posobiec said:
- During Biden’s speech, QAnon influencer John Sabal, known online as “QAnon John,” called Biden “a Master Plagiarist” in a post on Telegram. Sabal went on to say that “all he can do is to COPY what President Trump and the MAGA America First agenda championed.”
- Immediately following Biden’s address, far-right outlet The Post Millennial published an article titled, “Biden uses SOTU speech to push MAGA style policies on infrastructure, manufacturing, jobs.”
- White nationalist Nick Fuentes posted on Telegram: “Biden speech actually wasn’t bad. Calling him a demented woke socialist falls flat when 60% of his speech sounds like Trump or better.”