Biden and Utah’s governor call for less bitterness and more bipartisanship in the nation’s politics

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox disagree on many issues but were united Saturday in calling for less bitterness in politics and more bipartisanship.

“Politics has become too personally bitter,” said Biden, who has practiced politics since he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. “It’s just not the way it used to be.” The Democratic president commented as he toasted the nation’s governors and their spouses at a White House dinner in their honor.

Cox, a Republican and chairman of the National Governors Association, led Biden to the lectern beneath an imposing portrait of Abraham Lincoln above the fireplace in the State Dining Room.

Utah’s governor said the association “harks back to a different time, a different era, when we worked together across party lines, when there was no political danger in showing up with someone on the other side of the aisle and we need to preserve this.” , we We have to keep this up, we can’t lose this,” he said.

Cox had previously joked that he and Biden might commit “mutually assured destruction” by appearing together in the White House as they both face re-election this year.

He said governors, as heads of state, “know only a tiny bit about the incredible burden that is on your shoulders. We can’t imagine what it must be like, the decisions you have to make, but we feel a little bit of that pressure and that’s why we honor you tonight.

Biden said he remembered lawmakers arguing during the day and breaking bread together at night. He is currently embroiled in a standoff with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives over immigration policy, government funding and aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Cox went on to say that his parents taught him to pray for the country’s leader.

“Mr. President, I want you to know that our family is praying for you and your family every night,” he said. “We pray that you will be successful because if you are successful, that means the United States of America will be successful and tonight we always come first, so thank you.”

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat who is vice chairman of the association, also gave a toast.

“We have much more in common and much more that brings us together as Americans for love of country and love for the people of our country,” he said.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, were among the Cabinet secretaries and White House officials who served under the governors. The group included North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who in December ended his bid to become the Republican presidential nominee and challenge Biden.

Guests dined on house-made burrata cheese, a choice of beef braciole or cod almandine and lemon meringue pie with limoncello ice cream for dessert.

After-dinner entertainment was also part of the program.

The governors heard from Biden and Harris during a separate meeting at the White House on Friday.