Press Sec Digs Hole Even Deeper After Biden Calls For Dead Congresswoman
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre talks to reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on September 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. Jean-Pierre was repeatedly asked about why President Joe Biden was looking for the late Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN), who was killed in a car accident on August 03, during an event earlier in the day. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was forced to scramble after President Joe Biden called for recently deceased Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN) during an event on Wednesday.

Walorski was killed in a motor-vehicle accident in August, but Biden called for her multiple times — asking where she was — during his opening remarks at the White House’s Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. Prior to her death, Walorski had been one of four co-sponsors of a bill to fund the conference.

“Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie?” Biden scanned the audience, apparently searching for the Indiana Republican.

Not surprisingly, Jean-Pierre fielded questions about the gaffe during Wednesday’s briefing.


ABC’s Cecilia Vega was first to ask about the president’s flub, saying, “What happened at the Hunger Event today? The president appeared to look around the room for an audience member, a member of Congress who passed away last month. Did he think she might be in the room? What happened there?”

Jean-Pierre explained that Biden had only wanted to recognize the work Walorski had done — and that he planned to visit with her family and sign a bill in her honor later in the week — adding, “she was on his mind, she was top of mind.”

Several other reporters pressed the issue, noting that even if the late congresswoman was “top of mind,” it seemed odd that the president did not appear to remember that she had passed away.


“The confusing part is why, if she and the family is top of mind, does the president think that she’s living and in the room?” another reporter asked.

“I don’t find that confusing,” Jean-Pierre pushed back, saying again that Biden had spent so much time and effort reviewing Walorski’s work and preparing to recognize her that her name was just the one that came to mind while he was speaking.

“I have John Lennon top of mind just about every day but I’m not looking around for him,” the reporter shot back.

“When you sign a bill for John Lennon as president, then we can have this conversation,” Jean-Pierre replied, moving quickly along to the next question.

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