While praising legislators during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health on Wednesday, President Biden asked for Rep. Jackie Walorski, who died in a car crash in August. Later, during a White House briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it was because the late congresswoman was “top of mind” for the president.
JOE BIDEN: And I want to thank all of you here for including bipartisan elected officials, like representative government Senator Braun, Senator Booker, Representative-- Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie? I think she was-- I think she was gonna be here to help make this a reality.
- What happened in the hunger event today, the president appeared to look around the room for an audience member, a member of Congress who passed away last month. He seemed to indicate she might be in the room. What happened there?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: So the president was-- as you all know, you guys were watching today's event. A very important event on food security. 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. She was of top of mind for the president. He looks-- very much looks forward to discussing her remarkable legacy of public service with them when he sees her family this coming Friday.
- He said, "Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie? She must not be here."
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: No, I totally understand. And I just-- I just explained, she was on top of mind. You know, this wasn't-- what we were able to witness today and what the president was able to lift up in this-- at this conference, at this event, was how her focus on wanting to deal with-- combat food insecurity in America. And this is something that he was lifting up and honoring.
And again, he knows that he's going to see her family this coming Friday. There is a bill signing that's going to happen in renaming a VA clinic in Indiana after the late Congresswoman. He knows that he is going to see her family. And she was of top of mind.