Joe Biden Apologizes for Saying Laken Riley’s Suspected Killer Is an ‘Illegal’ Immigrant

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

During his State of Union address last week, President Joe Biden used the term ‘illegal’ when referring to the man suspected of killing 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley.

Biden flubbed Riley’s name, but that is apparently not what has been weighing on him. During an appearance on MSNBC over the weekend, the president apologized for calling her accused killer “an illegal” during his speech.

On Monday’s show, Megyn and The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan, author of The House of Love and Death, discussed Biden’s ‘regret’ and what it reveals about the state of the Democrat Party.

‘Say Her Name’

On President Biden’s way to the podium at the State of the Union last Thursday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) handed him a button with Riley’s name on it. Several members of Congress in the chamber could be seen wearing them in support of the Augusta University nursing student who was murdered in broad daylight while out for a run on the University of Georgia campus last month.

At one point during his speech, Greene heckled Biden, shouting at him to “say her name.” In response, the president reached for the button, held it up, and then misstated the victim’s name. “Lincoln Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal,” Biden said in an off-script remark. “That’s right. But how many thousands of people are being killed by legals.”

It did not take long for the left and media to pounce on the president’s word choice. Initially, Biden stood by his comment. Before boarding Air Force One on his way to a campaign event on Friday, he said he didn’t “regret” the phrasing. But he quickly changed his tune. 

During a sit down with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart that aired on Saturday, Biden said he misspoke when referring to Venezuelan native Jose Antonio Ibarra as “an illegal”:

CAPEHART: Mr. President, it is great to see you again. Thank you for doing this. So, that was one hell of a speech you gave it Thursday night. I’m going to touch on three specific areas there. The first one being, you know, I noticed the look of surprise on your face when you walked into the chamber and you saw Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. It was priceless. You feigned shock at seeing her, but, during your response to her heckling of you, you used the word ‘illegal’ when talking about the man who allegedly killed Laken Riley.

BIDEN: Undocumented– undocumented person. I shouldn’t have used ‘illegal.’ It’s ‘undocumented.’ And look, when I spoke about the difference between Trump and me, one of the things I talked about at 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, the reason our economy’s growing. We have to control the border and more orderly flow, but I don’t share his view at all.

CAPEHART: So, you regret using that word? 


Megyn said the targeted remorse is startling. “I didn’t see his apology for calling Laken Riley ‘Lincoln’… but he wants to apologize and take back calling this… guy who had been in here illegally, arrested for endangering the welfare of a child, [and] wound up taking the life of a 22-year-old young woman who just wanted to help people as a nurse [an illegal],” she asked. “He gets an apology? It’s bassackwards, as they say.”

Trump vs. Biden

Riley’s family reportedly turned down an invitation to attend the State of the Union, but her mother, Allyson Phillips, expressed outrage at Biden’s address on social media.  

After someone posted about the president calling her daughter “Lincoln” and trying to “minimize” her murder by invoking the death of his own children, Phillips responded: “Biden does not even KNOW my child’s name – it’s pathetic! If you are going to say her name (even when forced to do so) at least say the right name!” 

Former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, met with Phillips and other loved ones before at a rally in Georgia on Saturday. “I met her beautiful mother and family backstage,” Trump told the crowd. “They said she was like the best. She was always the best to us. They admit that she was the best, and she was the first in her class. She was going to be the best nurse. She was the best nursing student. She was always the best. She was the brightest light in every room, they told me.”

Megyn said the contrast is stark. “She appeared with Trump while Biden was over there apologizing to her murderer for referring to him as an ‘illegal,'” she noted. “If the Trump campaign doesn’t make that a split-screen ad within the next 24 hours, they don’t know what they’re doing.” 

In Klavan’s view, Biden likes to point to his predecessor’s “blunt” and “sometimes incentive” rhetoric about the border crisis without ever acknowledging that “everything [Trump] said has turned out to be true.”

These countries “are not sending their best, they are sending criminals,” Klavan explained. “And this sensitivity to criminals that we get from the [George Soros-funded] prosecutors and from Joe Biden… it masks a complete insensitivity, a coldness to the pain and suffering that has been caused to innocent people by these murders, by rampant crime, by shutting down businesses with stealing.”

He believes that cavalier attitude will catch up with the president. “This is kind of the one thing in this administration that I do think is hitting people in the face,” Klavan concluded. “Eventually you start to say… ‘Don’t normal people who pay the taxes and keep the world running deserve some kindness, too?’”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Klavan by tuning in to episode 743 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.