President Joe Biden on Wednesday searched for a congresswoman who died last month during a speech at the White House, CNN reports.
Biden on Wednesday held the first White House hunger conference in half a century and sought to call out lawmakers who backed a bill establishing the conference, including the late Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski.
“I want to thank all of you here for including bipartisan elected officials like Rep. (Jim) McGovern, Sen. (Mike) Braun, Sen. (Cory) Booker, Representative – Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie? I think she wasn’t going to be here – to help make this a reality,” Biden said.
Walorski died last month at 58 in a car crash that also killed two of her staffers.
She served as the co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus.
White House responds:
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that Biden was speaking about Walorski.
“The President was naming the congressional champions on this issue and was acknowledging her incredible work. 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 this coming Friday, so, of course, she was on his mind,” Jean-Pierre said. “She was top of mind for the President. He very much looks forward to discussing her remarkable legacy of public service with them when he sees her family this coming Friday.”
Jean-Pierre gets testy:
Jean-Pierre got frustrated after multiple reporters continued to ask about the remarks, at one point calling a reporter “rude.”
“I just explained – she was top of mind,” she said. “You know, what we were able to witness today and what the President was able to lift up at this conference, at this event was how her focus on wanting to deal with, combat food insecurity in America. And it’s something he was lifting up and honoring.”
“The confusing part is – why, if she and the family (are) top of mind, does the President think that she is living and in the room?” a reporter asked.
“I don’t find that confusing,” Jean-Pierre responded. “I think many people can speak to, sometimes, when you have someone top of mind – exactly that.”