WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden publicly sought out Jackie Walorski, an Indiana congresswoman who died in a car accident in August, during a conference on hunger on Wednesday, seeming to forget that she had passed away.
Biden thanked other conference organizers, then asked: “Jackie are you here? Where’s Jackie?”
Walorski, a Republican, was one of four Congressional co-sponsors of the bill to fund the conference. She was killed with two staffers in early August.
Biden moved past the issue without any correction. After Walorski’s death, the White House issued a statement from Biden that said he and his wife Jill were “shocked and saddened” by her sudden accident.
“Truly an awful and disgraceful blunder,” Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican, tweeted in reference to the mistake.
Biden was “acknowledging her incredible work,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said when asked about the incident later, adding that Biden had already planned to welcome the congresswoman’s family to the White House for a bill signing on Friday. “She was on top of mind,” Jean-Pierre said.
By Reuters. (Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Leah Douglas; Writing by Heather TimmonsEditing by Alistair Bell)