18 April 2024

Selfies, Handshakes and Hugs: Biden Lingers After Final Name

President Biden delivered the speech. He survived the speech. He had some jokes, obtained some laughs and offered some rousing financial commentary in regards to the availability of Snickers bars and potato chips.

Then got here the enjoyable half.

“Nobody’s going to speak about cognitive impairment now!” Consultant Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, told the president after the speech, referring to all the priority about Mr. Biden’s age and his means to deal with the calls for of the job.

“I sort of want typically I used to be cognitively impaired,” replied Mr. Biden, maybe speaking in regards to the speech he had simply delivered. Or the stress of his job. Or Home Republicans.

For a minimum of 25 minutes after finishing his State of the Union tackle on Thursday, Mr. Biden lingered with well-wishers who had gathered to reward a speech that had been energetic and extra political than in earlier years.

The president appeared blissful he was completed together with his high-wire act, and for some time it seemed like he would by no means depart. Speaker Mike Johnson and Vice President Kamala Harris chatted idly behind Mr. Biden as he circulated.

Lastly, a Home protocol officer advised Mr. Biden that many within the chamber couldn’t depart till he did.

“Are they Democrats or Republicans?” the president joked back, in response to a reporter who noticed the interplay.

Finally, Mr. Johnson gaveled the session closed even with Mr. Biden nonetheless within the chamber.

The second was a homecoming of kinds for Mr. Biden, who spent 36 years commuting to Capitol Hill as a Democratic senator from Delaware. He appeared anticipating the reward. Earlier than the speech, his allies had mentioned he was craving interplay with folks exterior the gilded cage of the White Home.

“As president, he doesn’t ever get the possibility to only cease by and simply have interaction with folks,” Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware and an ally of Mr. Biden’s, mentioned in an interview this week. The presidency, Mr. Coons mentioned, had “made it tougher than ever for him to only join with folks casually.”

Which is exactly what Mr. Biden did because the Home chamber emptied and he stayed behind. He shook arms with some Home members, together with Consultant Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“I would like you to convey that vitality that you just introduced tonight,” Consultant Nikema Williams, Democrat of Georgia, advised him.

“I’ve an excessive amount of vitality,” the president replied. “That’s the issue.”

Lastly, nearly a half-hour after the speech ended, Mr. Biden departed a largely empty chamber and headed residence. He spent a while on the White Home greeting supporters earlier than lastly going inside simply earlier than midnight.