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Speaker Johnson Slams Biden For Apology To Laken Riley Suspect: ‘What An Embarrassment’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


House Speaker Mike Johnson tore into President Joe Biden for being an “embarrassment” after the president seemingly apologized to Laken Riley’s accused killer instead of to the slain student’s family.

“The president is cowering to his base and showing deference to a man who deserves none. This man is an illegal immigrant who brutally murdered Laken Riley. President Biden should be apologizing to Laken’s family. What an embarrassment,” Johnson wrote on X on Sunday, responding to Biden’s interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart that aired Saturday.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., urged Biden to condemn Riley’s killing by “an illegal” during an off-script moment in his State of the Union speech on Thursday.

Later, in an interview with Capehart, the president took a backseat, saying that he should have referred to Jose Ibarra, a national of Venezuela, as “undocumented” when describing the man who is accused of killing Riley, an Augusta University nursing student who was out for a run on the University of Georgia campus last month.

Ibarra was released into the United States for additional processing in September 2022 after crossing the border illegally close to El Paso, Texas, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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About a year later, he was allegedly putting a child in danger, for which he was later arrested and released in New York City.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department verified that in October 2023, months before Riley’s death, Ibarra and his brother received tickets for shoplifting in Georgia.

The affidavit filed on February 23 charges Ibarra with the misdemeanor of physically impeding a 911 call in addition to the felonies of malice murder, murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and concealing the death of another.

The charging documents accuse Ibarra of “disfiguring” Riley’s skull.

“I shouldn’t have used illegal, I should’ve … it’s undocumented,” Biden told Capehart.

“And look, when I spoke about the difference between Trump and me, one of the things I talked about on the border was his – the way he talks about vermin, the way he talks about these people polluting the blood. I talked about what I’m not going to do, what I won’t do. I’m not going to treat any, any, any of these people with disrespect. Look, they built the country,” Biden added.

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Notably, former President Donald Trump has also gotten involved.

Trump, the GOP presidential nomination front-runner, slammed Biden’s apology at a rally over the weekend.

Torching Biden for mixing Riley’s first name up with USC head football coach Lincoln Riley, Trump said Biden “went on television and apologized for calling Laken’s murderer an illegal,” drawing boos from the crowd.

Speaking to Riley’s parents behind the scenes at the rally, Trump reinforced his word choice.

“They have a new name that’s even worse. You know what the new name is? Neighbor,” Trump said. “A newcomer to our country … are we going crazy or what? Is this country going crazy? How about that one, ‘newcomer’ … no, he was an illegal. And I say he was an illegal alien. He was an illegal immigrant. He was an illegal migrant. And he shouldn’t have been in our country, and he never would have been under the Trump policy.”

Trump added: “We have the worst numbers, probably — probably in the history of the world. It’s sad to see what is happening to our cities. Our cities are being overrun with migrant crime, and that’s Biden migrant crime, but it’s a new category of crime and it’s violent, where they’ll stand in the middle of the street and have fistfights with police officers. And if they did in their countries from where they came, they’d be killed instantly. Instantly. They wouldn’t do that. So the world is laughing at us, the world is taking advantage of us. 3 years ago we were at a level — we were energy independent, we were going to be, very shortly, energy dominant, and today we’re getting oil from Venezuela. Can you believe it?”

Biden addressed Riley’s parents during the State of the Union address while also asking, “But how many thousands of people are being killed by legals?”

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