The State of the Union (SOTU) speech is an American tradition. It has been pretty much an annual event now for decades. It is considered the President’s biggest and most important speech of the year most every year — unless there is a big crisis that prompts another big speech. But, that aside, most years, the SOTU speech is the POTUS’s most important speech.

It used to be a civil environment. That was until Republican Congressman Joe Wilson blurted out “you lie” at President Obama during his 1st term. Wilson ended up raising a boatload of money off of that one line. More significantly, however, it basically opened the door for members of the opposition party to grab a headline — sometimes intentionally, sometimes not so intentionally.

Some of the more memorable steals were when Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was caught on camera disagreeing with the President. Nancy Pelosi stole the spotlight when she ripped up President Trump’s speech right in front of his face.

This year’s speech by Joe Biden has been heralded as one of his best moments as President. Indeed, about 72% of Americans who watched the speech came away with a positive view of the speech and a more optimistic outlook for the future.

Republicans who tried to steal the spotlight this year ended up with the short end of the stick as a result. The Republicans who tried to shine a spotlight on themselves may have regretted it the next morning.

Let us look at five of the worst attempted spotlight steals from this year’s SOTU speech:

George Santos

The maligned congressman who has been caught lying about just about everything decided it would be a good idea to get to the hall early and camp out a prime spot on the aisle where everyone, including the President, comes down as they enter.

It wasn’t a good idea at all.

Before the speech, Mitt Romney gave Santos a tongue lashing that the usually mild-mannered Senator is not known for. Romney later explained that he told Santos that he was an embarrassment and what he was doing was stupid. Later, it was Romney in the spotlight where he told America that Santos shouldn’t even be in Congress. 

Almost everyone else ignored Santos, including the President when he made his way to the podium to deliver the SOTU speech.

Santos, who is now under investigation, would have served himself better by staying out of the limelight instead of showing just how much he is disliked by many in Washington, including some from his own party.

The GOP Takes Biden’s Bait

At one point in the speech, Biden brought up some Republican’s lust for cutting programs like Social Security and Medicare. Some Republicans vocally objected, thinking they had the President on the ropes and would have to play defense. Instead, Biden essentially went on the offensive and essentially got all the Republicans to agree on camera on National TV that both programs would remain untouched in the coming debt ceiling negotiations, and any other negotiations after that.

Well played, Joe.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Ends Up Getting Owned

The controversial Georgia congressional member tried from the cheap seats in the back to get her face on camera. She wore a thick fur coat to the speech and left it on — despite the room being pretty warm. Perhaps she was trying to “trigger” someone with her fur, but that didn’t ever seem to happen. She just looked kind of dumb in that coat indoors in a packed chamber.

But that would pale on the scale of embarrassing things for Greene when Biden brought up the fact that about 25% of the debt that needs to be paid was ran up by her hero, Donald Trump, during his tenure. Greene repeatedly called Biden a liar as loudly as she could. But the problem for her was that Biden was correct in his assessment, and everyone in the nation saw her get owned by the facts.

Kevin McCarthy Has A Very Bad Night

If someone had a worse night than Greene or Santos, it was Kevin McCarthy. Unfortunately for the new House Speaker, one of the duties of the night is to sit behind the President as he delivers applause line after applause line. Because of the sharp partisan divide, and some House Republicans being militantly against giving Biden credit for anything, McCarthy had to remain sitting or couldn’t get caught clapping in approval for several things that are hard to argue against. Things like the creation of 12 million new jobs.

At times, McCarthy looked somewhere between dispair and regret as Biden listed his accomplishments. Rowdy antics by some of his members like Greene and other Freedom Caucus members caught McCarthy on camera trying to “shush” them and subtly trying to get them to cease.

McCarthy, by the middle of the speech looked like he wished he was anywhere but in that chamber. He looked like the dog who caught the car then got dragged down the road by that car.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Gave Possibly The Worst Rebuttal Ever

Giving the opposition response to the SOTU speech is a tough challenge. Unlike the SOTU speech, the person tasked with the response doesn’t get to have a big audience and a podium in front of that audience. Their speech is usually just them and a camera, with no fanfare or cheering.

Some are up to the challenge, some aren’t. The Arkansas Governor most certainly wasn’t. Biden provided optimism, she retorted with pessimism, but not really based on anything but “Biden bad, Democrats bad” dressed up in slightly more eloquent language.

She implied that she was part of the military because she once accompanied Trump to an appearance in a war zone. She never served, and such a trip to a safe zone inside a hostile country doesn’t make someone a soldier.

She actually bragged about banning a harmless word — Latinx. Holy “cancel culture” Batman! This was after bragging about banning a curriculum in public schools that isn’t even taught in public schools — namely, Critical Race Theory (CRT) which is a graduate level law course. And even then, isn’t taught as doctrine but a theory to be discussed and debated in most every case.

Just like Santos, Greene, McCarthy, and many other Republicans, Sarah Huckabee Sanders probably wished she wasn’t in the spotlight after all was said and done.

Legal expert Joyce Vance did a very detailed play by play of the entire speech. You can check that out here.