White House Insists Biden Didn’t Apologize for ‘Illegal’ Quip During SOTU

Reuters/Shawn Thew
Reuters/Shawn Thew

The White House insisted Monday that Joe Biden never apologized for using the phrase “an illegal” during last week’s State of the Union address, despite the president saying Saturday he regrets using “illegal” to describe a migrant accused of killing a Georgia student.

Olivia Dalton, the White House’s deputy press secretary, told reporters Monday that regretting something doesn’t equate to an apology.

Biden was interviewed Saturday by the MSNBC journalist Jonathan Capehart, who asked him if he regretted using the word “illegal” in his State of the Union address. Biden responded “Yes.”

“An undocumented person,” Biden added, suggesting he wished he’d used the term more widely used by Democrats. “It’s ‘undocumented.’”

That’s not how Dalton viewed the interview, however. She said wanted to be “really clear” that Biden “absolutely did not apologize” after a reporter asked if the president felt he needed to say sorry to undocumented immigrants for his remark.

“There was no apology anywhere in that conversation,” she said, referencing the MSNBC interview. “He did not apologize. He used a different word.”

Dalton added, “What we should be really clear about is the facts.” She then pivoted to attacking Republicans for “politicizing” the murder of Laken Riley, who cops say was beaten to death by an undocumented Venezuelan migrant last month when she went for a run on the campus of the University of Georgia.

“I think it’s unconscionable that there are some people who are playing politics with this young woman’s tragic murder,” she said.

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