Republican Governor Kim Reynolds of the midwestern U.S. state of Iowa laid Russia's invasion of Ukraine squarely at the feet of President Joe Biden and his approach to foreign policy.
In the official Republican response to the Democratic president's State of the Union address, Governor Reynolds offered a list of what she described as the administration's foreign policy failures, including last year's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which she said not only "cost American lives," but "betrayed our allies and emboldened our enemies."
Reynolds suggested Biden allowed the Ukraine invasion to occur by waiving sanctions on Russian pipelines while eliminating domestic oil production. She concluded that Biden and congressional Democrats were too busy "focusing on political correctness rather than military readiness."
"Weakness on the world stage has a cost," Reynolds said. "And the president's approach to foreign policy has consistently been too little, too late."
Turning her attention to the U.S. economy, the first-term governor said Biden and congressional Democrats have spent the last year "either ignoring issues facing Americans or making them worse," specifically inflation. Reynolds said the administration was warned that "spending trillions of dollars would lead to soaring inflation, and were told that anti-energy policies would send gas prices to new heights."
She also boasted of the approach taken by her and other Republican governors in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This included opposing coronavirus restrictions such as vaccine and mask mandates, especially those in public schools.
She said keeping schools open is just the start of a "pro-parent, pro-family revolution" that includes banning the teaching of so-called critical race theory, which conservatives contend could further divide Americans and worsen race relations.
"Americans are tired of a political class trying to remake this country into a place where an elite view tells everyone else what they can and cannot say, what they can and cannot believe," Reynolds said. "They're tired of people pretending the way to erase racism is by categorizing everybody by their race."
The 62-year-old Reynolds began her political career as the elected treasurer of a rural county, serving four terms in that office before her election to the Iowa state Senate in 2008. She was elevated to the post of lieutenant governor two years later as the running mate of Governor Terry Branstad, succeeding him in 2017 when he was confirmed as then-President Donald Trump's choice as ambassador to China.