MSNBC analyst McCaskill suggests Biden use Zelenskyy to score ‘unity’ points at State of the Union

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MSNBC analyst Claire McCaskill said Monday that President Biden should play a clip of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanking him for his help during the 2022 State of the Union address to score some desperately needed “unity” points.

During an appearance on “Deadline: White House,” McCaskill, a former Democratic senator from Missouri, encouraged Biden to take advantage of the situation overseas and the bipartisan sense of unity that has emerged in the U.S. in support of Ukraine.

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“This is an opportunity that comes along very rarely in presidential politics, in any political setting, and that is, there is unity,” McCaskill told MSNBC host Nicole Wallace. “And what did Joe Biden run on? He ran on unifying the country and getting over the illness that was all about Trump busting norms, of telling the truth and respecting the office.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis
(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

She continued, “If he [Biden] wants unity, if I were in his office, I would be saying to him, tear up the speech and make this all – I mean, if he could get a screen in there and have Zelenskyy come in and give a short, thank you for supporting us and this is important, I mean, he could have the first State of the Union speech in my adult life where we weren’t counting how many times people were standing up or sitting down based on what side of the aisle you sat on.”

Wallace, taking a jab at Trump, said Biden could “bait them and say, ‘stand up, if you think as Donald Trump does, that Vladimir Putin’s clever” to display unity.

“Everyone, clap and stand up if you think Putin is a genius,” McCaskill retorted. “This is a moment. He could make it all about Ukraine, freedom, and it would be great.” 

McCaskill’s comment comes shortly after former Obama aide David Axelrod encouraged Biden to display “a little humility” during his first State of the Union address set to take place on Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol.

MSNBC analyst Claire McCaskill. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

MSNBC analyst Claire McCaskill. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In a guest essay published in The New York Times last week, Axelrod told Biden to resist the urge to tout his achievements, writing plainly, “Mr. President, proceed with caution.”

“Polls show that the vast majority of Americans believe we are on the wrong track, and people will have little patience for lavish claims of progress that defy their lived experiences,” he wrote. 

Even if the country is “in a stronger position than we were a year ago,” Axelrod added, “Americans are not celebrating.”

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The speech follows months of poor polling for the Biden administration. A new Fox News national poll found that just 31% of voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today.  That’s not only down from 45% at the 100-day mark of Biden’s presidency (April 2021), but it is also the lowest number who have felt that way in almost a decade.  The last time satisfaction was lower was October 2013, when 26% were happy. 

Overall, 43% approve of Biden’s job performance and 56% disapprove, marking the worst numbers of his presidency — and a reversal since June when he received his best, 56% approved and 43% disapproved. 

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