First Lady Jill Biden and Vide President Kamala Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff greeted each other with a kiss on the lips before the president’s State of the Union address.
Footage captured Mrs Biden shaking hands as she made her way through the crowded chambers towards Mr Emhoff.
The two grabbed hands and shared a quick smile before swiftly embracing in what appeared to be a well-rehearsed kiss, video shows.
The pair continued to hold hands in the moments after the cosy display as Mrs Biden positioned herself on the other side of Mr Emhoff.
No one in the immediate vicinity seemed bothered by the kiss between the President’s wife and Vice President’s husband. The group continued to clap through the peculiar moment.
President Biden used his second State of the Union address to tout America’s “unbroken” democracy and resurgent economy in an optimistic — and gaffe-ridden — speech.
Mr Biden’s address before Congress and tens of millions of television viewers was a chance for the Democrat, who is expected soon to announce a bid for a second term, to persuade sceptical voters that at 80 he still has what it takes to takes to run for re-election.
At one point in the speech, Mr Biden began yelling angrily about Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“We face serious challenges across the world, but the past two years democracies have become stronger not weaker, autocracies have grown weaker not stronger,” he said.
“Name me a world leader would change places with Xi Jinping! Name me one! Name me one!”
The 73-minute speech saw Mr Biden pitch his centrist, populist vision of a country healing after Covid and the turmoil of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Referring to Mr Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Mr Biden said that the United States had survived “its greatest threat since the Civil War”.
“Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken,” Mr Biden said.
Mr Biden touted surging employment figures and told Americans that his economic plan aims to rebuild the country’s manufacturing base despite pressure from the Ukraine war and pandemic disruptions.
“We’re better positioned than any country on Earth right now,” he said. For decades, “manufacturing jobs moved overseas, factories closed down”, Mr Biden said.
“Jobs are coming back. Pride is coming back,” he said. “This is my view of a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.”
Among Mr Biden’s proposals in the speech was a new “billionaire tax” he said was designed to “reward work, not just wealth”.
And he hit out at big oil companies he accused of making “outrageous” profits. “I ran for president to fundamentally change things to make sure our economy works for everyone, so we can all feel that pride,” Mr Biden said.
Amid deep political divisions, Mr Biden urged Republicans now holding the majority in the House of Representatives to show unity — as he accused some among them of taking the US economy “hostage” over the debt ceiling.
A major crisis is brewing in Congress over Republican refusal to extend the debt limit, usually a rubber stamp procedure. Mr Biden’s government warns of financial calamity, with major international implications, if Republicans stick to their guns, potentially pushing the United States into default.
“Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere. And that’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation,” Mr Biden said.
Delivering the Republican rebuttal to Mr Biden, former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders lashed out at the “radical left” and what she said was an attack against the “freedom and peace” of patriotic Americans.
“It’s crazy and it’s wrong,” said Ms Sanders, who has been elected governor of Arkansas since leaving Trump’s administration and is a rising star on the right.
The White House announced the guests of First Lady Jill Biden for the speech would include Ukraine’s ambassador, Oksana Markarova, and rock band mega star and HIV/AIDS campaigner Bono.
The most eye-catching, though, was Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old man who disarmed the gunman in a January mass shooting in California, and RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, the parents of Tyre Nichols, a man whose death after a prolonged police beating in Memphis, Tennessee, shocked the nation.
Story Credit: news.com.au