White House struggles to explain Biden's gaffe referencing late congresswoman

Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a car crash in early August.

Updated: September 28, 2022 - 3:34pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled to explain a recent gaffe from Joe Biden in which the president asked if a recently deceased Indiana lawmaker was present in the audience.

Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a car crash in early August. A police report later revealed that the vehicle in which Walorski was riding was travelling at 82 mph and had veered left of the center of the road, prompting the crash.

In a speech at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, Biden highlighted lawmakers who helped to bring the event to fruition.

"I want to thank all of you here, including bipartisan elected officials like Rep. [Jim] McGovern [D-Mass.], Sen. [Mike] Braun [R-Ind.], Sen. Cory [Booker (D-N.J.)], Rep. Jackie [Walorski], R-Ind., are you here? Where’s Jackie?" he asked, according to The Hill.

Jean-Pierre, fielding questions about the subject on Wednesday, noted that Biden had been naming key players on the issue, among which Walorski was prominent.

"The president was naming the congressional champions on this issue and was acknowledging her incredible work," she said, per the outlet. "I don’t think it’s all that unusual to have someone top of mind, especially as there’s a big event... that’s going to occur."