White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled to defend President Joe Biden's slip-up Wednesday when he seemed to call for a deceased congresswoman at a conference on health and nutrition.
Biden seemed to call for Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., to stand and be acknowledged during Wednesday's event at the White House, apparently forgetting that the congresswoman died in a car crash in August.
ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega asked Jean-Pierre why the president called for Walorski during a press briefing.
"The president was — as you all know, you guys were watching today's event, a very important event on food insecurity — the president was naming congressional champions on this issue and was acknowledging her incredible work," Jean-Pierre said, according to the Daily Caller. "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. She was on 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."
Vega then repeated Biden's remarks, where he said, "Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie? She must not be here."
Jean-Pierre maintained that the congresswoman was "on top of mind" for Biden.
"No, I totally understand; and I just explained [Walorski] was on 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[ing] food insecurity in America; and this is something that he was lifting up and honoring. And again, he knows that he is going to see her family this coming Friday. There's a bill-signing that's going to happen in renaming a VA clinic in Vienna after the late congresswoman. He knows that he is going to see her family, and she was on top of mind."
Newsmax's James Rosen then questioned the press secretary on her explanation of Biden's gaffe. Jean-Pierre responded that he made the remark at an event that was honoring Walorski's work on food insecurity.
"Karine, I have John Lennon on top of mind just about every day, but I'm not looking around for him anywhere," Rosen said.
"When you sign a bill for John Lennon as president then we can have this conversation," Jean-Pierre said.
Multiple reporters then apparently posed the question about why Biden did not apologize for the mistake as the press secretary tried to move on.
Walorski died in a car accident near Nappanee, Indiana, on Aug. 3 along with her district director Zachery Potts and communications director Emma Thomson.
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