President Biden’s upcoming State of the Union address has sparked outrage among Republicans with his decision to invite the family of Tyre Nichols. Host of “Real Time,” Bill Maher, criticized the president for what he sees as “tragedy porn.”
“I really feel like this is gross,” Maher expressed. “It’s too soon to impose on that family now in their hour of grief to help you politically. I mean, it’s stunt casting, which they always do at the State of the Union address. And I just feel it’s… we should be better than that.”
Despite pushback from New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., who appeared on the show, Republicans remain critical of Biden’s move.
“It’s exploitative of a family in grief, newly in grief,” Maher added.
Gallego tried to compare Biden’s move to former President Donald Trump inviting the late Rush Limbaugh to his last State of the Union. However, Republicans see this as a desperate attempt by the Democrats to score political points and exploit a family’s tragedy.
Maher went on to say that he wishes to “get rid of the State of the Union,” calling it a “depressing” tradition. But Gallego defended the State of the Union, stating “traditions do matter” and that “it’s important for the president to communicate his vision and speak to the country.”
29-year-old Tyre Nichols died after being beaten by Memphis police officers following a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Five officers were later charged with second-degree murder and could face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.
While Democrats may defend Biden’s move, Republicans see it as a cruel and insensitive exploitation of a family’s pain for political gain. With emotions running high, the State of the Union address promises to be a heated and controversial event.