The White House struggled to respond on Wednesday after Joe Biden committed an embarrassing error at an anti-hunger event on Wednesday and appeared to forget the recent death of an Indiana congresswoman.
The president was speaking at the White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health when he called out the name of Jackie Walorski, a Republican member of the House who died in a car crash earlier this year. Speaking as if he was searching for her in her dela was in the room, Mr Biden then suggested that she must have missed the event.
It’s a cringeworthy moment given that Mr Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden released a statement expressing their condolences for Ms Walorski’s death in early August. That same statement noted that the president expected to see her today.
“Jill and I are shocked and saddened by the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana along with two members of her staff in a car accident today in Indiana,” read Mr Biden’s 3 August statement.
“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served. She also served as co-chairs of the House Hunger Caucus, and my team and I appreciated her partnership as we plan for a historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this fall,” it continued, alluding to Wednesday’s event.
Confronted about the mixup at her daily press conference, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attempted to spin the president’s actions as a result of having the congresswoman on his mind; she dodged direct questions about why he asked where she was.
“The President was naming the congressional champions on this issue and was acknowledging her incredible work he had. He had already planned to welcome the congresswoman’s family to the White House on Friday there will be a bill signing in her honor from her this coming Friday. so of course she was on his mind dela she was top of mind for the president. he looks very much forward to discussing her remarkable legacy of public service with them when he sees her family from her this coming Friday, ”said Ms Jean-Pierre.
The moment will likely be ammunition for those who say that Mr Biden is not up to the task of running for reelection in 2024 and, if he were to win, serving for four more years.
Polls already indicate that a majority of Democrats would prefer that the president step aside and let a successor run in the next election cycle.
Just a few days ago, video emerged of Mr Biden appearing confused and getting lost looking for an exit as he conluded a speech at a United Nations event in New York.
Ms Walorski’s death in early August shocked Capitol Hill. The congresswoman and her close aides were in a vehicle that collided head-on with another driver’s. A black box recovered from the accident indicated that the car was traveling at more than 80 mph when her driver crossed the center line to pass a slower-moving motorist and crashed into a Buick heading the opposite direction.
The congresswoman, her driver, and her communications director all died in the crash. The driver of the Buick was killed as well.