Trump rips Biden over botched Laken Riley mention

 March 11, 2024

Former President Donald Trump criticized President Biden's handling of the State of the Union address, particularly his mispronunciation of the name of slain Georgia nursing student Laken Riley and his subsequent apology for referring to her alleged killer as "illegal."

During a rally in Rome, Georgia, Trump met with Riley's family before addressing the crowd.

The remarks

At the event, Trump denounced Biden's immigration policies, leveraging Riley's tragic case to underscore his points.

Attendees were provided with campaign posters featuring Riley's image alongside the phrases "Remember our angels" and "Say her name."

“[Biden] didn’t want to call him illegal,” Trump said to loud boos from the crowd. “He said he should have called him an undocumented and not an illegal and wanted to apologize.”

“I say he was an illegal, he was an illegal alien, he was an illegal migrant and he shouldn’t have been in our country and he never would have been under the Trump policy,” the 45th president said.

The event

Trump highlighted Biden's verbal slip-up during his address, where the president mistakenly referred to Riley as "Lincoln." Despite the error, Trump expressed condolences to Riley's family and honored her memory, emphasizing her spiritual presence.

In response to persistent demands from the audience to acknowledge Riley, Biden held up a pin bearing her name, provided by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Biden once again mispronounced Riley's name and referred to her alleged killer as "illegal," a term that has faced criticism within Democratic circles.

Biden's apology

Biden issued an apology for using the term "illegal" to describe the suspect, who was identified as a Venezuelan citizen who entered the U.S. illegally.

He did not apologize for mispronouncing Riley's name. Trump seized upon this, expressing outrage at Biden's apology and reiterating his firm stance on immigration policy.

Riley, a nursing student at the University of Georgia, tragically lost her life while jogging on campus. The suspect, Jose Antonio Ibarra, was identified as a Venezuelan citizen who had entered the U.S. illegally.

Trump accused Biden of lacking remorse and criticized him for apologizing to the suspect instead of acknowledging his mistake in mispronouncing Riley's name. Riley's mother, Allyson Philips, echoed these sentiments, expressing disappointment at Biden's handling of her daughter's name during the address.

Biden held a separate rally in Atlanta, underscoring the significance of Georgia as a battleground state. The state played a pivotal role in securing Biden's victory in the 2020 election, and Biden's rally aimed to rally support and engage with voters ahead of future elections.

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