Slain Georgia Student’s Mom Skewers Biden for Getting Daughter’s Name Wrong

Reuters/Shawn Thew
Reuters/Shawn Thew

The mom of slain Georgia student Laken Riley skewered Joe Biden in a pair of Facebook comments on Thursday night, calling the president “pathetic” for mispronouncing her daughter’s name during his State of the Union address.

In an impromptu portion of Biden’s speech, just after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene screamed “say her name” at the president, Biden held up a button and exclaimed, “Lincoln—Lincoln Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal.”

That Biden blooper irked Riley’s mom, Allyson Phillips, who wrote on Facebook, “Biden does not even KNOW my child’s name – it [sic] pathetic!”

She continued, “If you are going to say her name (even when forced to do so) at least say the right name!”

Suspect in Student Murder at UGA Was Arrested Last Year, ICE Says

Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, was allegedly murdered by an undocumented immigrant on the campus of the University of Georgia last month—a horrific attack police described as a “crime of opportunity.”

Republicans have seized on the murder to criticize Biden’s lack of action in addressing an influx of illegal immigration at the southern border, despite Republicans in Congress shooting down a border bill themselves last month.

After the mispronunciation, which some have attributed to Biden’s stutter, the president addressed Phillips directly, but not by name.

“To her parents, I say my heart goes out to you,” he said. “Having lost children myself, I understand.”

Biden has lost two of his children. His infant daughter, Naomi, was killed in a 1972 car accident alongside his first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden. His son, Beau, died in 2015 aged 46 after a battle with brain cancer.

That appeal appeared to do little to appease Phillips, however. She responded “amen” in a second comment, which said, “Joe Biden can’t even say her name right. What a disgrace of a president. LAKEN RILEY.”

Riley’s death is already on the brink of influencing policy. The House passed a bill named after her Thursday that’d require the detention of any migrant who commits theft or burglary—a policy that would’ve kept Riley’s killer, Jose Antonio Ibarra, in custody for previous alleged crimes had the legislation been in place in February.

Phillips addressed that bill’s passing in a post to her Facebook, writing, “Praise God! #SayHerName. LAKEN HOPE RILEY BILL - PASSED.”

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