Kevin McCarthy shushes ‘classless’ Republican lawmakers for interrupting Biden tribute to fentanyl victim

GOP spectators including Marjorie Taylor Greene chose to heckle the President as he honoured overdose victim Courtney Griffin during his State of the Union address

Io Dodds
San Francisco
Wednesday 08 February 2023 05:00 GMT
Marjorie Taylor Green heckles Biden as president challenges GOP

US Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was forced to shush hecklers in his own party as they interrupted President Joe Biden’s tribute to a fentanyl victim.

The newly elected speaker of the House of Representatives could be seen pursing his lips to quiet his GOP colleagues during one testy moment of Mr Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.

The heckling came as Mr Biden honoured Courtney Griffin of New Hampshire, who died in 2014 of a fentanyl overdose at the age of 20, and whose father Doug Griffin was in attendance at the speech.

As the president moved into offering solutions to the fentanyl crisis, GOP representative Marjorie Taylor Greene shouted: “It’s coming from China!” Another colleague chimed in: “It’s your fault!”

Observers on Twitter described the remarks as “classless”, “brainless”, and a example of “acting like kids”.

Once the heckling died down, Mr Biden continued: “Let’s launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border.”

That drew applause from McCarthy, who apparently wished to demonstrate his support for the measure.

It was one of several times Mr Biden was heckled during his address, including Ms Taylor Greene shouting “liar!” when the President suggested that some Republicans wish to cut social security benefits.

On Twitter, the Georgia congresswoman alleged that Mr Biden “is the Mexican cartel’s best business partner,” and claimed: “Biden loves defending Ukraine’s border, but refuses to do anything to stop the flood of Chinese-made Mexican Cartel imported fentanyl murdering Americans every single day.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths from synthetic opioids – mainly fentanyl – =have risen steadily and rapidly since around 2014, continuing to soar under all of the last three US presidents.

Eric Garcia in Washington DC contributed to this story.

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