President Biden asked the late Rep. Jackie Walorski to identify himself at a Washington event Wednesday, forgetting that the Indiana Republican died in a car crash last month.
Biden made the embarrassing mistake when he thanked bipartisan congressmen at a nutrition event near the White House.
“I want to thank all of you here, including bipartisan elected representatives [Jim] McGovern, Senator [Mike] Brown, Senator [Cory] Booker, Representative Jackie — are you here? Where is Jackie? – I think she would be here, said the president.
Biden, 79, is the oldest president ever, and his mental acuity is regularly questioned by his political foes — though Biden and his defenders have deflected concerns by saying the commander-in-chief is simply prone to error.
The White House released a statement from the president mourning Walorski on August 3 after she died in a wreck in Indiana along with her press secretary, Emma Thomson, and the chairman of the Republican Party in St. Joseph County, Zachery Potts.
The tragedy occurred when Walorski’s vehicle, driven by Potts, crossed the median of Indiana State Road 19 and struck another car driven by 56-year-old Edith Schmucker, who also died.
“Jill and I are shocked and saddened by the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana, along with two members of her staff, in a car accident in Indiana today,” Biden said at the time.
“Born in her beloved South Bend as the daughter of a meat cutter and firefighter, she spent a lifetime serving the community in which she grew up — as a journalist, nonprofit executive, state legislator, and finally as a member of Congress for the past nine and a half year,” he said.
“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee, on which she served,” Biden said. “She also served as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, and my team and I appreciated her partnership as we plan a historic White House conference on hunger, nutrition and health this fall, which will be marked by her deep concern for needs in rural America.”
The flag atop the White House was also flown at half-staff for two days after Walorski’s death.
Although Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, argue that Biden is in mental decline, Democrats note that he has struggled with public misinformation for decades.
“I’m a fork machine,” Biden admitted in 2018. “But my God, what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can’t tell the truth.”
Biden’s record of head-slapping statements includes asking Sen. Chuck Graham of Missouri to stand up during a 2008 campaign event — before realizing too late that Graham was in a wheelchair.
“Get up, Chuck, let them see you,” Biden said. “Oh – God love you, what am I talking about? I tell you what, you make everybody else stand up though, pal.”
The president also has a habit of using inappropriate words at awkward times in speeches. During a trip to the Middle East in July, for example, Biden told an audience in Israel that “we must … keep the truth and honor of the Holocaust alive,” before correcting himself to say “horror of the Holocaust.”
Days later, in Saudi Arabia, Biden said during a speech: “We will always honor the bravery and the selflessness – the selflessness of – and the sacrifices of the Americans who served, including my son, Major Beau Biden, who was deployed to Iraq for one year.”
Meanwhile, the president has regularly shared stories that are either false or impossible to verify.
In January, Biden told students at historically black colleges in Atlanta that he was arrested during civil rights protests — for which there is no evidence.
Biden told Jewish leaders in September 2021 that he remembered “spending time in” and “going to” the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the mass murder of 11 people there in 2018. The synagogue said he never visited, and the White House said later. he thought of a phone call in 2019 to the synagogue’s rabbi.
Also last September, Biden told an audience in Idaho that his “first job offer” came from local lumber and wood products company Boise Cascade. The company said that was news to them, and Biden had not previously expressed an interest in moving to the state.
And in May, Biden said at the Naval Academy’s graduation ceremony that he was appointed to the military school in 1965 by the late Sen. J. Caleb Boggs (R-Del.). A search of Boggs’ archives failed to turn up evidence of the appointment.