Who is Joe Biden’s speechwriter Vinay Reddy?


New US President Joe Biden will deliver his inaugural address on Wednesday outlining his administration’s agenda. The speech-writing team that is helping shape the project is led by an American Indian, Vinay Reddy, who served as a speechwriter for the Biden-Harris campaign and who was previously a speechwriter when Biden was vice president in Barack Obama’s second term.

What is it about

The inaugural address has been a tradition since George Washington became the first president on April 30, 1789. In his first inaugural address, he referred to the “sacred fire of freedom” and a “new free government”. For his second term in 1793, Washington’s 135-word speech remains the shortest ever. William Henry Harrison’s speech in 1841 was the longest at 8,455 words; it lasted two hours.

The White House Historical Association notes that the inaugural speeches set the tone for the new administration. While sometimes they are meant to persuade, at other times presidents have chosen to speak “directly to the concerns of the nation”. In 1961, John F Kennedy appealed to public service in his inaugural address when he said, “My fellow Americans: don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country .

Biden takes over during what is described as one of the most tense moments in American history. Commentators have compared the moment to 1933 when FD Roosevelt was sworn in during the Great Depression (“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he said), and to 1861 , during the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln appealed to his “disgruntled compatriots” not to be enemies but friends.

Role of the speechwriter

The Office of Speechwriting is a presidential department of the White House responsible for researching and writing the president’s speeches.

In a 2019 discussion session on “translating presidential ideas into words,” Sarada Peri, one of Obama’s speech writers, said “the public is the world of any speech,” while his Colleague speechwriter Kyle O’Connor said it was important to capture the “style and voice” of the president.

Jon Favreau, who was only 27 when he helped shape the 2009 inaugural address in which Obama, echoing Kennedy half a century earlier, called for a “new era of accountability” urging Americans to recognize “that we have duties to ourselves, to our nation and to the world; duties which we do not grudgingly accept, but rather embrace with joy, firmly convinced that there is nothing more satisfying the mind, so defining our character than giving our all to a difficult task .

A temporary exhibition organized by the John F Kennedy Library and Museum in 2009 notes that some of his instructions to his speechwriter in 1961, Ted Sorensen, included “to avoid pessimism and partisanship” and to “read other presidential nominations. “.

Biden’s speech writers

The content of Biden’s inaugural address is overseen by Mike Donilon, who has been his longtime advisor, as well as presidential historian and biographer Jon Meacham, who also helps shape the project. In his first remarks as president-elect, Biden spoke of the need to “rebuild the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation …”. A New York Times article notes that Biden’s trust in a historian stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump’s “lack of interest” in the past.

Reddy, an Ohio State University College of Law alumnus, is Biden’s speech writing director. Reddy received his BA from the University of Miami and a double major in Political Science and Philosophy. According to an article in Telangana Today, Reddy was born and raised in the United States; his family is from the village of Pohireddypeta in Telangana.

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