During a gathering of House Democrats in Baltimore, President Biden mocked Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for blaming him for the deaths of two Michigan brothers who died after taking fentanyl in 2020. Biden laughed off Greene’s comments, saying that a few more politicians like her and many Republicans would run the other way.
Biden clarified that the fentanyl that caused the brothers’ deaths came into the US during the last administration. The mother of the two brothers testified to the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday, stating that more needs to be done to prevent fentanyl imports into the country.
Republicans often criticize Biden for not doing enough about fentanyl sourced largely from China, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans between 2018 and 2021 alone.
Biden’s family has had extensive business dealings with Chinese state-linked firms. Until recently, Biden rarely mentioned fentanyl deaths, unlike former President Trump, who cited the deaths to push for a US-Mexico border wall and to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to launch a crackdown.
Fentanyl is a potent drug used to treat severe pain, and a small dose can be lethal. It is commonly shipped from China to Mexico and then smuggled into the US, although it can also be shipped through the international mail system. It is increasingly mixed into non-opioid drugs such as cocaine and counterfeit prescriptions, killing unsuspecting users.
Republicans accuse Biden of not paying enough attention to fentanyl, and Biden has misstated US death statistics twice in recent months. Last month, Biden said thousands of Americans are dying every day from fentanyl when the actual figure is around 200 deaths per day. In January, Biden said that fentanyl had killed 100,000 Americans so far, when there were nearly double that number of deaths, 196,000, between 2018 and 2021.
More than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021, the most recent year for which data are available. More than 71,000 of those deaths were from fentanyl and related compounds, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.