Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

By: CHRIS ENLOE | March 02, 2023


Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Wednesday laughed and appeared to trivialize the deaths of two men who died of fentanyl overdoses, all in an effort to bash Republicans. Speaking at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference, Biden bashed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), saying that if the Republican Party elects a few more lawmakers like her, then the majority of Republicans will be “running” to embrace the Democratic Party.

“Isn’t she amazing?” Biden mocked. “Oof.”

The president immediately followed up by invoking Michigan mother Rebecca Kiessling, whose two sons — Caleb, 20, and Kyler, 18 — died of fentanyl overdoses. Kiessling testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, where she pleaded with lawmakers to increase border security and narcotics interception.

In his speech, Biden emphasized that Kiessling’s sons died when Donald Trump was president.

“I’ve read she was very specific recently, saying that a mom — a poor mother who lost two kids to fentanyl, that I killed her sons. Well, the interesting thing is that fentanyl they took came during the last administration,” Biden said, letting out a laugh.

Biden appeared to be referring to accusations that Greene allegedly made. CNN accused her of blaming Biden for the deaths of Kiessling’s sons.

That is one interpretation of Greene’s remarks about Kiessling’s testimony. Another interpretation, however, is that Greene was making a larger rhetorical point — the same that Kiessling made, in fact — that weak border security is driving the fentanyl crisis and that the government must increase border security to stop the influx of lethal narcotics into America.

It’s true that Kiessling’s sons died in 2020 when Trump was president. But Biden’s reaction — laughter — to a fact that absolved him of direct responsibility is what drew criticism.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), for instance, demanded that Biden “apologize for this immediately.”

“No person, let alone the president of the United States, laughs when speaking about a mother who lost two sons to fentanyl poisoning,” Lee said. “What, President Biden, do you find amusing about this?”

President Biden Delivers Remarks at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference

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