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President Joe Biden appeared to ask where the late Representative Jackie Walorski was Wednesday, repeatedly calling out her name into a crowd, despite the fact that the Indiana Republican died in a car accident in August.
“Representative Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie? I think she was going to be here to make this a reality,” Biden said, while thanking her and other lawmakers at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.
“Jackie are you here? Where’s Jackie?”
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) died in a car accident in August pic.twitter.com/cHc3b7zPmE
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) September 28, 2022
Walorski was one of the four lawmakers who sponsored a bill to convene the conference. A tribute video was played for her before Biden’s speech, but a reporter at the scene said the president was not present at the time.
When asked why Biden was looking for Walorski in the crowd, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the representative was “of top of mind” for Biden, and that “he was acknowledging her incredible work.”
The reporter pressed Jean-Pierre, asking why Biden asked, “Jackie, are you here?”
“I totally understand. I just explained. She was of top of mind,” Jean-Pierre said.
Biden issued a statement on Walorski’s passing at the time of her death, saying he was “shocked and saddened.”
“My team and I appreciated her partnership as we plan for a historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this fall that will be marked by her deep care for the needs of rural America,” Biden had said in August.
Walorski was killed in a car crash on August 3, when her car collided with a car going the opposite direction. Her district director Zachary Potts, her communications director Emma Thomson, and the driver of the other car also died.
Police later said that Potts, who was driving Walorski and Thomson, was at fault for the crash. He tried to pass a truck by going in the other lane, and collided with a southbound car driven by Edith Schmucker, NPR reported.