Republicans are criticizing President Biden for his tone-deaf remarks during a House Democrat retreat, where he laughed at Marjorie Taylor Greene’s claim that he was responsible for the fentanyl-related deaths of two young men.
Biden made the comments Wednesday night in Baltimore, going after Georgia’s stake for saying he “killed” the sons of a mother who testified in the House this week about the fentanyl and opioid epidemics.
Biden noted that the fentanyl came into the country “during the last administration,” which is correct — and then chuckled. His comments came a day after distraught mother Rebecca Kiessling gave tearful testimony about the loss of her children and condemned border policies for contributing to the problem.
“Yesterday a mother who lost her two sons to fentanyl poisoning told her story. Today, Biden laughed about it,” the Republican National Committee tweeted, airing the clip.
Republicans challenge President Biden for laughing during speech to Democrats about Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene blaming him for ‘killing’ a mother’s two sons who died of fentanyl in 2020
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) retweeted the clip, calling it “shameful and embarrassing.”
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) tweeted, “Joe Biden LAUGHED as he spoke about a mother who lost two of her sons to fentanyl. Awful. disgraceful. Disqualifying. He must apologize immediately.’
Kiessling’s sons, Caleb and Kyler, aged 20 and 18, died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Their mother says they used the drug unknowingly and thought they were getting Percocet which turned out to be laced with the powerful narcotic.
Greene had retweeted her own comments from the hearing, calling the event “heartbreaking” in a message that was viewed 1.8 million times.
“Would your sons be alive today if our government secured our southern border?” she asked Kiessling, who replied, “Absolutely.”
She described the deaths from fentanyl poisoning as “homicides.”
wrote Green“Listen to this mother, who lost two children to fentanyl poisoning, tell the truth about the murders of both her sons because of the Biden administration’s refusal to secure our border and prevent the cartels from killing Americans every day with Chinese fentanyl.
The House Homeland Security Committee also tweeted Biden’s comments, writing, “We’re not sure what’s so funny about Rebecca Kiessling’s heartbreaking story, but it’s very telling how little this admin cares about the border crisis poisoning our communities.” As POTUS laughs off the fentanyl crisis, families across America mourn.”
Biden’s chuckle didn’t light up the Baltimore hotel ballroom where Democrats are meeting this week to strategize. He prefaced his remarks by referring to the “poor mother” and noted that the fentanyl came “during the last administration.”
It was a strange departure for Biden, whose team prides itself on its ability to connect with Americans at a loss. On Tuesday, the same day as Kiessling’s testimony, Biden began a speech on Virginia beach, talking about his own health struggles years ago and how a nurse at Walter Reed helped him get through them. He frequently brings up the loss of his own son, Beau, in public remarks.
Kiessling appeared on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show after her testimony, where she criticized the Democrats for their response. When the host asked her if she thought Congress got her message, she replied, “More than half of them did.” I was really shocked by some of the rhetoric I heard, frankly from the Democrats saying they’ve heard a lot of fear mongering. Are you joking?’
Greene claimed on Tuesday that Rebecca Kiessling’s 18- and 20-year-old sons, Kyler and Caleb, died as a result of the Biden administration’s policies, and tweeted a clip of the distraught mother testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.
But Biden said with a chuckle on Wednesday night that the fentanyl they took came “during the last administration.”
The president criticized the Georgia Republican, claiming she would drive people out of the GOP en masse, in a speech at the annual House Democratic retreat in Baltimore.
Rebecca Kiessling, a Michigan mother who lost two sons to fentanyl poisoning, wipes tears during a House Homeland Security Committee meeting on the US-Mexico border on Capitol Hill on Feb. 28
Caleb and Kyler Kiessling, the sons of Rebecca Kiessling, ages 18 and 20, died of a fentanyl overdose in July 2020. Their mother testified before a House Homeland Security Committee. Kiessling said her sons had thought they were taking a normal painkiller, but it was laced with fentanyl.
He also told Democrats to drive home how much they accomplished legislatively in the last Congress and told them to keep trying to work across the aisle with those who aren’t “MAGA Republicans.” .
As Democrats huddled to hear from the top about their strategy to challenge GOP control in the House and take back power in 2024, Biden urged them to run on their record.
‘People, you know how much we’ve already done. Much of the country still doesn’t know,” he said.
He praised the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last Congress, saying, “If we do nothing but implement what we’ve already passed, and let people know we did it for them, we win.”
But Biden said there were still “unfinished business,” citing immigration reform, police reform and gun control.
MAGA Republicans won’t run for most of these things. That leaves many Republicans left. Republicans can help win significant majorities on some of these issues,” he said.
“A little bit more of — a few more Marjorie Taylor Greene, you’ll have a lot of Republicans running our way,” Biden said. ‘Is not she Lovely?
“She was very specific the other day and told a mother, a mother who lost two children to fentanyl, that I killed her sons. The interesting thing is that fentanyl they took came during the last administration,” Biden said with a chuckle.
“I don’t want to get into it,” he added.
“Listen to this mother, who lost two children to fentanyl poisoning, tell the truth about the murders of both her sons because of the Biden administration’s refusal to secure our border and prevent the cartels from killing Americans every day with Chinese fentanyl Greene tweeted.
But the sons died on July 29, 2020, Kiessling said, more than five months before Donald Trump left office.
Fentanyl deaths in the US have been rising since the 2010s, peaking during Covid-19 and continuing to rise under the Biden presidency.
In 2022, 107,000 Americans will die of drug overdose.
Biden also addressed his meeting with debt ceiling speaker Kevin McCarthy, calling it a “decent meeting” and saying McCarthy “seems like a decent guy.”
“He says he won’t tax anyone,” Biden said. “He just wants to cancel programs. So I said let’s make up our budgets.
“I am putting mine down on March 9, he should do the same.
“We need to sit down, and it would be interesting to see what they want to cut and what their numbers yield.”
“A little bit more of — a few more Marjorie Taylor Greene, you’ll have a lot of Republicans running our way,” Biden said. ‘Is not she Lovely?’
The GOP has promised to release a budget in April.
“They certainly don’t act like the party that cares about fiscal responsibility,” Biden said of the Republicans.
“Under my predecessor, Congress voted three times to pay America’s bills. They didn’t put the country in crisis then, why should they do that now?’
In January, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the country had reached its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling — the maximum amount it could spend to fund government programs and pay down debt.
McCarthy and Biden are now at odds as Republicans push for spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. President Biden is expected to release his budget next week.