In one of her first acts as governor, Sanders drew national attention for a directive banning the term Latinx in all of Arkansas government. In her response Tuesday, Sanders also waded into culture war issues that have buoyed conservatives in the Biden years, criticizing “false idols” on the left and other conservative punching bags.

«That’s not normal. It’s crazy and it’s wrong,” she said.

Huckabee also hit to the president for his stewardship of the economy and the Biden administration’s handling of immigration policy.

Those broadsides are not far removed from the portrayal of Biden and his fellow Democrats put forth by his former boss, former President Donald Trump, underscoring the lasting impression he has left on the Republican party, albeit with the former president’s sharper edges trimmed away.

Trump, the only declared important Republican candidate for the White House, issued his own brief response to Biden’s speech in which he painted a bleak picture of the country and accused the president of allowing illegal immigrants to «invade» the country and letting illegal immigrants drug cartels smuggle. drugs across the border.

Trump also highlighted inflation, rising murder rates and said the Biden administration is «trying to indoctrinate and maim our children,» a reference to the sexual orientation and gender identity issues that have fueled the party.

Instead, Sanders echoed those very themes, without the same level of rancor and in a way that Republicans have sometimes sought in hopes of shaping the former president’s agenda into a lasting coalition. At the beginning of his remarks, he referenced her thyroid cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as his mother’s experience with a different form of cancer, before quickly moving on to condemn Biden.

“The dividing line in the United States is no longer between right and left; the choice is between normal or crazy,” he said.

Sanders also mocked the upcoming release of an Arkansas education plan that he said would, if enacted, increase teacher salaries, expand parental choice and improve children’s literacy.

Sanders’ speech contrasts with the tone left by her predecessor, Republican Asa Hutchinson, a regular presence at Washington’s Sunday shows who has in the past condemned some of Trump’s rhetoric, his most controversial policies while and members of fellow former governor’s legislators in Arkansas.

Hutchinson has at times flirted with a presidential run as a conservative alternative to Trump, while Sanders has quashed speculation that he is seeking a higher job.

“I look forward to serving as the governor of Arkansas for eight full years if the people of Arkansas give me that privilege and that opportunity,” she said this week on “Fox News Sunday.”

Meridith McGraw contributed to this report.