SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO/AP) — South Dakota Sen. John Thune is sharing his reaction to a State of the Union address that, he says, captured how “outspoken” people can be in American politics. Heckling from the GOP rang out during President Joe Biden’s State of the State address on Tuesday; Thune says that’s indicative of where we are.
“There is more, I would say, activity in the chamber probably than there used to be,” Thune said in an interview with CBS News. “But I think that’s probably, characterizes a little bit of the change in our politics. People are a lot more, they get out, they’re a lot more outspoken, and I think the State of the Union speeches are perhaps a good example of that.”
Biden addressed police reform as the country processes the death of Tyre Nichols. Memphis police fatally beat Nichols in a January traffic stop.
“But what happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often,” Biden said during the State of the Union. “We have to do better. Give law enforcement the real training they need. Hold them to higher standards.”
Thune says his party is prepared to work with the president’s party on police reform.
“There are, I think, about 70 to 80% of the issues around police reform are things that both sides agree on,” Thune said. “So what we ought to try and do is find that common ground, and see if we can actually execute on getting some reforms across the finish line.”
Social Security and Medicare also had the president’s attention.
“I won’t cut a single bit of Medicare or Social Security,” Biden said Tuesday.
Thune says he sees Republicans and Democrats in agreement that those two programs won’t see cuts.
“I think the president, if he wants to, this could be a real legacy issue,” Thune said. “He could come to the table, and it’s going to take presidential leadership to do something big and consequential like this, and I think Republicans would meet him there.”