Standing at the podium as part of a White House forum on food and hunger, President Joe Biden began working through the list of people to thank.
He made it bipartisan. He thanked several Republicans and got to his friend Jackie. “Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie?” Biden asked.
Jackie is Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana, who died over a month ago in a car crash.
Biden knew Walorski died. He released a statement on her death. He is about to sign legislation, with her family present, to rename a VA hospital in her honor.
His press secretary said the deceased congresswoman was “top of mind” for Biden because he knew he would be spending time with her family later in the week. If Walorski really was “top of mind,” shouldn’t Biden have known she could not be present at the event?
“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
We should consider the options.
First, his staff may have failed to prepare him. Prior to Biden taking the stage, a brief video was shown reflecting on Walorski’s life. An advance team should, in every case, brief the president on everything happening at an event, including those events that happen right before he goes on stage.
Second, perhaps they briefed him but failed to remind him that Walorski died.
Of course, there is a third option. What if the team did tell Biden, did brief him, did do everything right, and Biden forgot that quickly?
When former President Donald Trump was in office, videographers caught him very, very carefully walking down a ramp at West Point. “Trump’s Halting Walk Down Ramp Raises New Health Questions,” the New York Times headline blared. The subheading was, “The president also appeared to have trouble raising a glass of water to his mouth during a speech at West Point a day before he turned 74, the oldest a president has been in his first term.”
CNN’s regurgitator of stale conventional wisdom, Chris Cillizza, wrote a piece with the headline, “Why the Donald Trump-West Point ramp story actually matters.” Among the reasons why Cillizza said it mattered? “He is the oldest person ever elected to a first term in the White House” and “Trump’s medical past is a total mystery.”
Biden is now the oldest president ever and his health is no mystery. He had two brain aneurysms in 1988, both of which required surgery. Now, he’s calling out to a dead congresswoman who happens to be, by his press secretary’s telling, “top of mind” — just not top of mind enough to know she’s dead.
“Trump tries to explain his slow and unsteady walk down a ramp at West Point,” read the headline of Phil Rucker’s story about Trump’s ramp walk in The Washington Post. He said, “Elements of Trump’s explanation strained credulity.”
Does the Biden administration’s explanation for Biden not strain credulity? Of course it does. But note the relative lack of media coverage.
If only Biden had delicately walked down a ramp instead of searching for a dead woman in a crowd, maybe the media would ask the tough questions.
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