House Republicans sharpen their knives ahead of Biden’s State of the Union, say they expect ‘more gaslighting’

House GOP leaders arranged a counter-programming offensive for Biden’s big speech on Thursday, lining up rank-and-file lawmakers at a ‘media row’ event where they promoted a message of Republican unity against the Democratic White House. 

Members wore buttons that said ‘Stop the Biden border crisis’ while speaking to outlets, including Fox News Digital, in a cavernous meeting room dotted with posters that pointed out ‘over 8.7 million illegal crossings nationwide’ occurred since Biden became president. Others accused Biden of not being ‘mentally fit’ to be commander-in-chief.

When asked about their expectations for the speech, one phrase escaped lawmakers’ lips more than the rest — ‘gaslighting.’

‘I think it’s going to be ‘Gaslighting of the Union.’ He’s going to tell America how rosy everything is, that the economy is great, the border’s secure, as if Americans are idiots. And I find that quite insulting,’ Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital.

GOP Conference Vice Chair Blake Moore, R-Utah, said, ‘I think he’ll try to — I don’t know the best term, I think the kids nowadays are using ‘gaslight’ — he’s going to try to make it seem like it’s House Republicans’ fault that the border is not fixed. And we’ve seen the worst outcomes that we’ve ever seen at the border under his three years.’

The ongoing border crisis as well as Americans’ poor perceptions of the economy were the two main attack lines lawmakers discussed, arguing that Biden’s public dedication to fixing both has resulted in few, if any, solutions for Americans.

If Biden broaches those issues in his State of the Union address, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told Fox News Digital that he does not believe people watching at home will share his likely optimism.

‘The good news is people have heard the spin from this president and his administration for three-plus years. They’re sitting at home watching this saying, ‘Whatever this is going to be, I’m not better off today than I was four years ago.’ And that’s going to play when it comes to November,’ Emmer said.

Rep. John James, R-Mich., told Fox News Digital that he expects to hear ‘gaslighting, gaslighting, and more gaslighting’ from the president on Thursday night. ‘The only thing I think he can do right now to explain the crisis at the border, and the fact that we’re paying more for everything, is lie to the American people,’ James said.

‘I think it’s going to be a lot of empty rhetoric and fabricated lies because we’re in an election year, and he knows that this is the beginning of a tough re-election for him. And this is his audition right for re-election,’ Rep. Jen Kiggans, R-Va., told Fox News Digital.

Biden will address a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m. ET.

House Republican leaders have staged ‘media row’ events before Biden’s last State of the Union address as well as ahead of important legislative votes. 

GOP lawmakers touted it as a way to unify behind a single message amid a climate of intense political division.

‘We have to do a better job as conservatives of spreading our message, and so trying to do events like this right before a big State of the Union or messaging, you know, on events that the White House is doing, amplifies the message that we want to share,’ Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., said.

Rep. Monica De La Cruz, R-Texas, who is giving the Spanish-language rebuttal to Biden’s address, told Fox News Digital, ‘What [Americans] see through media row is one message, and that message is, in November, it is important for us to not only take back the White House, but retain control of the House, take back the Senate, so that we can pass meaningful legislation that matters to America.’

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for comment.

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