President Biden chuckled Wednesday night while knocking Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for falsely blaming him for the 2020 deaths of two Michigan brothers whose mother emotionally slammed the federal response to surging fentanyl deaths.
“A little bit of more of Marjorie Taylor Greene and a few more, you’re gonna have a lot of Republicans running our way. Isn’t she amazing? Whew,” Biden told a gathering of House Democrats in Baltimore.
“I was the reason, she was very specific, I shouldn’t digress probably. 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: that fentanyl they took came during the last administration [he-he].”
Rebecca Kiessling, the mother whose sons Caleb, 20, and Kyler, 18, died on July 29, 2020, after taking what they thought was Percocet, testified to the House Homeland Security Committee Tuesday that more should be done to stop fentanyl imports.
“If we had Chinese troops lining up along our Southern border with weapons aimed at our people, with weapons of mass destruction aimed at our cities, you damn well know you would do something about it,” Kiessling said.
“We have a weather balloon from China going across the country. Nobody died, and everybody’s freaking out about it. But 100,000 die every year, and nothing’s being done. Not enough is being done.”
Taylor Greene apparently missed the date of the tragedy and wrote on Twitter that the deaths were because of bad Biden administration policies.
Democrats barred Greene (R-Ga.) from House committees in 2021 over a bizarre series of remarks — including speculating that a Jewish space laser caused a wildfire — and she often is used by Democrats as a foil to portray Republicans as ridiculous.
Republicans routinely knock Biden, whose family has had extensive business dealings with Chinese state-linked firms, for not doing enough about fentanyl sourced largely from China, which killed nearly 200,000 Americans in 2018-2021 alone — or to determine the origins of COVID-19, which has killed more than 1 million Americans.
Fentanyl deaths jumped under Biden after trending higher under former President Donald Trump. Until recently, Biden rarely mentioned the scourge — unlike Trump, who cited deaths to push for a US-Mexico border wall while often boasting he convinced Chinese President Xi Jinping to launch a crackdown.
Fentanyl is used by prescription to treat severe pain and a dose the size of roughly 10 grains of table salt can be lethal, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The drug is commonly shipped from China to Mexico and then smuggled into the US, though its small size allows it to also be shipped through the international mail system.
It’s increasingly mixed into non-opioid drugs such as cocaine and into counterfeit prescriptions, killing unwitting users.
Republicans accuse Biden of not paying enough attention to fentanyl and twice recently he’s grossly misstated US death statistics.
Last month, Biden said “thousands of Americans are dying every day from fentanyl” — when the actual figure is roughly 200 deaths per day.
In January, Biden said in Mexico it “has killed 100,000 Americans so far” — when there were, in fact, nearly double as many deaths — 196,000 — in 2018-2021 and elevated 2022 figures are expected to push the five-year toll to nearly 300,000.
The matter emerged as one of the most acrimonious moments of the annual State of the Union speech to Congress last month when Biden attempted to highlight one family’s loss.
“Fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year,” Biden began, provoking indignant outbursts.
Greene shouted the drug was from “China,” while two male voices shouted at Biden “it’s your fault.”
“So let’s launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, end the sale and trafficking, with more drug detection machines, inspection of cargo to stop pills and powder at the border,” Biden continued — without any direct mention of the source nation of the chemicals.
Biden mentioned fentanyl trafficking in January to Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador, but he conspicuously didn’t mention it in opening public remarks at his first in-person meeting with China’s Xi in November.
The topic of Chinese fentanyl exports was omitted from a White House readout of the private portion of the Biden-Xi meeting, though Biden aides later claimed he mentioned it behind closed doors.
A record of more than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, the most recent year for which data are available. More than 71,000 of those deaths were from fentanyl and related compounds, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
There were nearly 94,000 US drug overdose deaths in 2020, during Trump’s final full year in office, of which nearly 58,000 were linked to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl — up from nearly 71,000 overdose deaths in 2019, of which 36,000 were linked to fentanyl, and about 31,000 fentanyl deaths in 2018.
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