President Joe Biden was mistakenly asked if the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, who died last month in a car accident, was at a White House event that she helped convene.
Biden made a gaffe when he spoke at the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health, where he publicly acknowledged elected officials like Walorski, R-Ind. Who helped organize the gathering.
At one point, Biden asked Jackie, are you here? He looked out and scanned the audience. He did not correct his remarks.
Walorski, a five-term lawmaker, died on Aug. 3 in a car crash with two of her staffers. She was a co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, and was one of four members of Congress who introduced a bipartisan bill that convened Wednesday's White House conference.
After her death, Biden issued a statement saying he appreciates her partnership as we plan for a historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this fall that will be marked by her deep care for the needs of rural America. Biden, 79, is no stranger to the gaffes and going off the pageant, both before he was elected and since he took office.
Asked why Biden made a comment about Walorski and if he was confused, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at Wednesday's briefing that he mentioned Walorski because she was top of mind and Biden had plans to see Walorski's family in just two days. He was thinking about her as he was naming out and calling out the congressional champions on this issue — on this really critical issue that is going to help millions of Americans, Jean-Pierre said.
In a series of tense exchanges, reporters repeatedly asked her to elaborate on why Biden made the comment, but Jean-Pierre would not say that Biden had misspoken or that he had forgotten that Walorski had died.
The confusing part is why, if she and the family are top of mind, does the president think she is living and in the room? A reporter asked.
Jean-Pierre responded that I don't find that confusing. I think many people can say that when you have someone top of mind, they are top of mind.