White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden was expressing “sympathy” when speaking about a mother who lost her two sons to fentanyl-containing drugs and that his words had been “misinterpreted”.
Biden has come under heavy criticism after helaughed at a complaint from Republican Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene that he “killed” the two sons of Rebecca Kiessling, who testified before Congress about the fentanyl crisis.
Kiessling demanded an apology from the president. The White House would not say if it would get one.
Jean-Pierre defended Biden’s laugh, saying the American people know his personal story – he lost his first wife and daughter in a car crash; his son Beau died of brain cancer – and his sympathy to those who have lost loved ones.
“When it comes to this president, I think the American people know who he is,” she said during her daily press briefing. “They saw him go through grief.”
“He expressed his sympathy for her last night. And her heart goes out to anyone, anyone who has to go through this type of trauma, this type of injury,” she said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden was expressing “sympathy” when speaking about a mother who lost her two sons to fentanyl-containing drugs and that his words were “misinterpreted”.
Jean-Pierre accused his detractors of manipulating his remarks.
“Her words are being misinterpreted by someone who is regularly discredited for things she says that are really conspiracy theories, and those lies are parented by a certain network,” she said during a apparent dig at Greene and Fox News, who interviewed Kiessling about it.
Kiessling’s sons, Caleb and Kyler, died in 2020 before Biden took office after taking what they thought were painkillers, but which were mixed with fentanyl.
She unleashed on Biden on Thursday.
“Just what a horrible human being. How can he just sit there and joke about it? He thought he was with a room full of Democrats and he is among friends and they can suck at it. What kind of person does that? “, She said on Fox News.
‘He just doesn’t care. He is completely heartless and what about all the thousands – hundreds of thousands who have lost their children under his administration. In his first year in office, after lifting all the border controls that had been put in place, there was a 22% increase in fentanyl deaths,” she said.
Kiessling, who lives in Michigan, testified before Congress earlier this week during a hearing on the escalating fentanyl crisis.
In her testimony, she said she was told the drugs that killed them had crossed the southern border.
Greene claimed the boys died due to Biden administration policies, tweeting a clip of the distraught mother testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee.
“Listen to this mother, who lost two children to fentanyl poisoning, tell the truth about her son’s two murders because of the Biden administration’s refusal to secure our border and stop the cartel from murdering Americans every day with Chinese fentanyl,” the Republican congresswoman from Georgia wrote.
Rebecca Kiessling, a Michigan mother who lost two sons to fentanyl poisoning, wipes away tears during her testimony on Tuesday
President Biden laughed off a claim by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene that he ‘killed’ a mother’s two sons who died of fentanyl in 2020
Biden, speaking to House Democrats on Wednesday night, responded to Greene’s accusation
He said, with a chuckle, that the fentanyl they took “came on the last administration.”
“I read that she was very specific recently, saying that a mother – a poor mother who lost two children to fentanyl, that – that I killed her sons. Well, what’s interesting is that the fentanyl they took came in the last administration,’ Biden said with a laugh.
US deaths from fentanyl have been on the rise since the 2010s, peaking during Covid-19 and continuing to rise under President Biden.
In 2022, 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses.
Kiessling, in a video uploaded Wednesday night, reacted to Biden’s comments with fury.
“Is that how you talk about the death of my sons?” Because a deputy misspoke? You don’t care about the loss of my sons? she says.
‘How dare you. What’s your problem. Almost every Democrat on the committee offered their condolences, they at least had the decency to do so.
“You can’t even do that?” You must laugh at my pain?’
Kiessling testified before Congress earlier this week about her sons’ deaths. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says the Biden administration is doing ‘nothing’ to stop youth fentanyl deaths
Rebecca Kiessling in a video recorded last night which she posted on Facebook. She slammed Biden for laughing at his story and demanded an apology
Kiessling’s sons Caleb and Kyler died in 2020 when they were 18 and 20 after taking a pill they didn’t know contained fentanyl
Kiessling also pointed to the increase in fentanyl deaths across the country since Biden took office, saying, “My kids died about six months before he became president.”
“Many administrations have failed for too long, since there has been an increase in drug-induced deaths from fentanyl.
“It was a problem for a long time.
‘[But] what about the 22% increase in fentanyl deaths since you became president? That’s tens of thousands of American citizens who have died on your watch, an increase of tens of thousands. This is double the number of parents who suffer.
“Are you going to keep laughing? About those who died on your watch? Do we have to bring them so you can look them in the eye and laugh?
‘What’s wrong with you? This is unacceptable. Our president must excuse me and he must be held accountable.