A Michigan mom whose two sons died from fentanyl poisoning tore into President Biden Thursday after he mocked false claims that his administration was responsible for their deaths.
Rebecca Kiessling‘s sons Caleb, 20, and Kyler, 18, died in July 2020 after mistakenly taking fentanyl they thought was Percocet. Her children’s deaths have spurred her to become an anti-drug activist, and she testified this week before the House Homeland Security Committee that more should be done to stop fentanyl imports.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, seized on Ms. Kiessling‘s testimony, claiming on Twitter that the two brothers would be alive if the Biden administration did more to secure the U.S. border.
Speaking to Democrats in Baltimore on Wednesday night, Mr. Biden mocked Ms. Greene’s false claim tying his administration to the brothers’ deaths.
“She was very specific — I shouldn’t digress, probably — I 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 the fentanyl they took came during the last administration,” Mr. Biden said, laughing.
A White House transcript released late Wednesday included the laughter after Mr. Biden‘s remarks.
The sarcastic remarks fueled Ms. Kiessling‘s ire, who criticized the president in a scathing video posted on Facebook.
“This is how you speak about the death of my sons? Because a congresswoman misspoke? You mock the loss of my sons?” Ms. Kiessling said.
Ms. Kiessling acknowledged that her sons’ deaths occurred during the Trump administration, but said she was still shocked by Mr. Biden‘s comments. She demanded an apology from the commander in chief.
“How dare you. What is the matter with you? Almost every Democrat on the committee offered condolences; they at least had the decency to do that,” she said. “You can’t even do that? You have to mock my pain?”
She asked, “What about the 22% increase in fentanyl deaths since you became president?”
“You’re going to keep laughing? About those who did die under your watch? Do we have to bring them in so you can look them in the eyes and laugh?” Ms. Kiessling said, adding that Mr. Biden‘s behavior “tells you where his heart is.”
A record 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, and 71,000 of those deaths were linked to fentanyl and related compounds, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2020, which was President Donald Trump’s final full year in office, there were 94,000 drug overdoses and roughly 58,000 linked to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. That was up from nearly 71,000 overdose deaths in 2019, of which 36,000 were linked to fentanyl and other synthetic compounds.