Yesterday the White House hosted a conference on ending hunger, where the President took the time to recognize critical legislators who helped push the issue of food insecurity. One of the few bipartisan issues still in DC, the President took the opportunity to give equal shout-outs to the Republicans who help work on legislation to end hunger.
One legislator who was well known for her bipartisanship and, in particular, her work to end hunger, wasn’t in attendance. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana was instrumental in ensuring that the White House conference even happened, thanks to her work with Congressmen Cory Booker, Mike Braun, and James McGovern.
So the President seemed a bit confused as to why Congresswoman Walorski would miss such an event that she had worked so hard to make sure came to a reality.
But, sadly, the reason she wasn’t able to make it is because she passed on August 3 in a car accident.
“Jackie, where’s Jackie?”, Joe Biden says about Rep. Jackie Walorski who died in a car accident a few months ago. pic.twitter.com/khdiesmEsx
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 28, 2022
You could almost hear the collective inhales of breath when President Biden said at the conference:
“Jackie are you here? Where’s Jackie?
He meant to acknowledge her hard work and probably comment about how she’s one of those Republicans he can work with. He followed up with:
“She was going to be here.”
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I’m sure she would be there had she not been killed in a car accident along with two of her staffers and the driver of the other vehicle. It was quite the news, and the state of Indiana and her fellow legislators were saddened to hear of her passing.
I love how the media just simply ignores inconveniences with Biden. Take for instance, uncle joe asking where Jackie is. Imagine for a minute if Trump had asked where a recently deceased member of congress, belonging to the other party was. They’d accuse him of wishing her dead
— Thomas Magnum (@TomMagnum_Pi) September 29, 2022
The President and First Lady Jill Biden were “shocked and saddened” to hear about her death when it happened. They said so in an official statement from the White House; he even ordered flags to be lowered to half staff in her honor.
So why would he be asking for her at an event when clearly she wouldn’t be there? Is he like that kid from The Sixth Sense? Or is there some other reason he might’ve thought she’d be there?
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Top Of Mind
The White House press corp was in rare form yesterday, with seemingly all of them in an unified agreement that it’s strange for the President to think a dead woman would be at an event. But what brought them all together in uproarious questioning was the incredibly bizarre answer they received from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Ms. Jean-Pierre attempted to explain it all away with this mish-mash of nonsense:
“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 – they will be at a bill signing in her honor this coming Friday. So, of course, she was on his mind. She was top of mind for the President.”
To which a rather savvy reporter followed up with:
“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?”
And in typical Jean-Pierre style, she replied with a non-answer:
“I don’t find that confusing. I mean, I think many people can speak to: Sometimes when you have someone top of mind, they are top of mind, exactly that.”
It’s at this point that the press briefing gets interesting.
Reporter: “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?”
KJP: “I don’t find that confusing.”
Reporter: “I have John Lennon top of mind just about every day but I’m not looking around for him.” pic.twitter.com/VUrXCmpcgl
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 28, 2022
A Legitimate Question, A Terrible Answer
The White House press pool was not having any of what Ms. Jean-Pierre was trying to sell them, because it made no sense. One asked if the teleprompter might have shown something that would have confused Biden.
To which Ms. Jean-Pierre testily replied:
“You’re jumping to a lot of conclusions. I just answered the question. If that had been the case, I would have stated that.”
Perhaps the press wouldn’t have to jump to conclusions if her answers weren’t terrible. Another reporter pressed further, wanting to find out if they could get a copy of the speech since it had been pre-written.
Ms. Jean-Pierre replied:
“I’m not understanding why that would be necessary.”
To flip her words back to her, I don’t find that question confusing at all. If a speech staffer wrote Congresswoman Walorski into the speech without paying attention and the speech made it through the wickets without the error being caught, that would explain the blunder.
Reporter: “Does [President Biden] believe he handled that reference appropriately or is this something that he would like to get back?”
Karine Jean-Pierre: “Like to get back what?”
Reporter: “He said, ‘Where is Jackie?'” pic.twitter.com/AtwGlckiEB
— Forbes (@Forbes) September 28, 2022
But we wouldn’t want the communications team to look bad, now would we? So that leaves us with the only other logical explanation…perhaps age is catching up with the Commander-in-Chief.
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The Passage Of Time
Time is a cruel beast, always slowly inching forward in the background of life until one day, you wake up, and you’re old. You can’t see as well, you can’t move as well, and you can’t remember as well.
At the age of 79, Uncle Joe is definitely within the zone of old. Nobody likes to be told they’re old, but you are old if you are over 70. No matter how many motivational Pinterest posts you read, 70 is not the new 50.
It’s natural. It happens.
Biden forgetting Walorski is dead was very sad for me to watch. Many of us have seen senile grandparents make similar mistakes. I don’t hate the guy. How can you? He’s barely aware of what’s around him.
— Timothy HJ Nerozzi 庭夢 (@TimothyNerozzi) September 28, 2022
However, it was just earlier this month that President Biden said on “60 Minutes” regarding his age and abilities:
“I think it relates to how much energy you have, and whether or not the job you’re doing is one consistent with what any person of any age would be able to do.”
The White House has done an excellent job trying to convince all of us that the President is sprier than ever with reports of him grilling aids on complicated policy, calling staffers late into the night, and asking really smart questions. However, I’m unsure if asking who people are repeatedly and where he is counts as grilling or intelligent questioning.
All kidding aside, it’s hard to argue that the President is a top executive powerhouse, with his almost constant weekends at his Delaware fortress and relatively light day-to-day schedule. But let’s look at all he’s done, as he suggested in his statement on “60 Minutes”:
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What Probably Happened
I’ll be honest; While the video of the President asking for the late Congresswoman Walorski is super cringe-worthy, I don’t think he thinks she’s alive and well. I think it is more plausible that one or a group of his inept staffers forgot, and her name was on the teleprompter.
The more cringe-worthy display is Karine Jean-Pierre’s performance on the podium. Sometimes it really is just better to tell the truth, or say he misspoke and is sorry for any distress it may have caused the family.
Instead, she closed out the briefing like this:
“I’ve answered it multiple times already in this room, and my answer is certainly not going to change. All of you may have views on how I’m answering it, but I am answering the question to the way that he saw it. And the way that we see it.”
My view is that she answered the question poorly, if it can be called an “answer” at all. A reporter hollered in the background, “This is a legitimate question!”
Indeed they all were legitimate questions; too bad we all got the usual terrible answer.
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