In Texas, Trump says he won’t forget Laken Riley’s killing

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly mentioned the killing of nursing student Laken Riley during a campaign stop Thursday at the U.S. border in Texas, where he said he spoke to her “devastated” parents and vowed to avenge her death.

Trump said he is “not going to forget” Riley, who authorities say was beaten to death last week after she went out for a run near a lake on the University of Georgia’s campus.

Jose Antonio Ibarra was charged with murder, kidnapping and assault in the death of the 22-year-old. Authorities say Ibarra, a Venezuelan citizen, unlawfully entered the U.S. in 2022. His asylum status isn’t known.

Trump has invoked Riley’s death to highlight his calls to seal the U.S. border with Mexico and take other steps to crack down on illegal crossings. He called Ibarra a “monster” and said Riley was “barbarically attacked.”

“I spoke to her parents yesterday; they are incredible people,” he said. “They are devastated beyond belief. She was so beautiful in so many ways.”

Riley’s funeral is on Friday afternoon in Woodstock, about 25 miles north of Atlanta. A funeral home spokesman, who is in contact with the family, said he could not confirm whether Trump had spoken with the parents.

During a dueling campaign event about 300 miles away, President Joe Biden brought up a bipartisan border compromise bill that was stymied in the U.S. Senate after Trump urged Republicans not to give the Democrats a legislative win.

“Show a little spine,” Biden urged congressional Republicans, adding that he’s willing to work with Trump to hash out a deal.

“Instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation,” the president said, “join me.”