“Where’s Jackie” became a trending topic on Twitter after President Joe Biden asked if a congresswoman killed in a car crash last month was present at a White House event on Wednesday.
Biden was recognizing lawmakers who organized the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. He asked for Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski, who was killed along with two staffers in August. She was a co-sponsor of the bill that funded the event.
“Jackie are you here? Where’s Jackie?” the president asked, seeming to forget Walorski had died.
White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice moderated a panel for the event after Biden’s comments and acknowledged Walorski’s death.
The president and First Lady Jill Biden, in a statement released the same day as the fatal accident, said they were “shocked and saddened” by Walorski’s death.
Republicans, Twitter users and others called out the president.
“Truly an awful and disgraceful blunder,” U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican, tweeted.
“Where’s Jackie? This just gets more embarrassing every day,” one person wrote.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden’s comments weren’t “unusual” because Biden had the congresswoman “top of mind.”
“The president was naming the congressional champions on this issue and was acknowledging her incredible work,” she said.
Biden will meet with Walorski’s family at the White House on Friday to sign a bill to rename a Veterans Affairs clinic after her.
Walorski served in Congress since 2013 and was co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus.
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