Biden says he regrets using the term ‘illegal’ to describe suspected killer of Laken Riley

Biden says he regrets using the term ‘illegal’ to describe suspected killer of Laken Riley

President Joe Biden said on Saturday that he regretted using the term “illegal” to refer to the suspected killer of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley.

Mr Biden apologised after some people from his political party expressed frustration with the president using the term to describe people who arrived in the US illegally.

“I shouldn’t have used illegal, it’s undocumented,” he said in an interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart taped in Georgia’s capital city Atlanta.

Donald Trump, who was campaigning in Rome, Georgia, at the same time, blasted Mr Biden for his apology.

“Joe Biden went on television and apologized for calling Laken’s murderer an illegal....Biden should be apologizing for apologizing to this killer,” Mr Trump said at his rally.

Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, was murdered while she was jogging on the campus of the University of Georgia.

Police detained a 26-year-old man from Venezuela named Jose Ibarra, allegedly an undocumented immigrant who has been charged with felony murder, kidnapping, and false imprisonment.

Riley’s murder has become a hotly debated topic in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election, with Republicans rallying over the Biden administration’s handling of the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border.

Mr Trump, who has made immigration a central topic in his campaign, was joined at his rally by Riley’s parents, her sister, and friends on Saturday, who were welcomed with a standing ovation and large signs.

“We share your grief,” the former US president told them.

“What Joe Biden has done on our border is a crime against humanity and the people of this nation for which he will never be forgiven,” Mr Trump said.

He alleged that Riley “would be alive today if Joe Biden had not willfully and maliciously eviscerated the borders of the United States and set loose thousands and thousands of dangerous criminals into our country”.

The former president contrasted Mr Biden’s apology, calling aloud that the alleged killer of Riley was “an illegal alien.”

“He was an illegal immigrant. He was an illegal migrant,” he reiterated at his rally, before accusing Mr Biden of having “no remorse”.

“He’s got no regret, he’s got no empathy, no compassion, and worst of all, he has no intention of stopping the deadly invasion that stole precious Laken’s beautiful American life,” Mr Trump said.

The term “illegal”, which was once common, is used less frequently now, particularly among Democrats as they embrace the issues of immigrant rights.

During Mr Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday, the president called on Republicans to pass a bipartisan border security deal, which was killed by the opposing lawmakers after Mr Trump made his opposition known.

Republican Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, a stalwart ally of the former president, then asked Mr Biden to say Riley’s name, adding she was killed “by an illegal”.

“By an illegal, that’s right,” Mr Biden responded to Ms Greene, before asking how many people are being killed by “legals”.

Following the president’s apology for using the term “illegal”, Mr Trump’s campaign adviser Chris LaCivita slammed Mr Biden for apologising for his language, and not to Riley’s family.

“He should be apologizing to the family as opposed to apologizing for the word that he used which is an accurate description,” Mr LaCivita said.