Someone send the man to a nursing home already! US President Joe Biden’s cognitive decline took a turn for the worse on Wednesday, when the 79 year old called out for a congresswoman who had passed away in a car accident a month before, seemingly forgetting he already said words of condolence to the family, as well as watched a tribute video that apparently played during the event.
“Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie,” Biden called out while giving remarks during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on Wednesday. “She was going to be here,” he continued, according to video footage of the event circulating on social media. “She must not be here,” he was quoted as saying. The president was searching the crowd for Republican congresswoman Jackie Walorski, who was a co-sponsor of the hunger bill that was the subject of the conference, but was unable to find her because she died in a car accident in August.
Shortly after Walorski’s death, Biden and his wife released a letter of condolence to her family, ordering the White House to lower flags to half-staff. Two weeks after the car accident, Congress agreed to rename an Indiana Veterans Affairs clinic after her, which Biden is expected to sign into law later this week. But, as if those weren’t telling clues of her passing, a “tribute video honouring the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana)” played during the conference.
Following the gaffe, confusion outpoured on social media, with many questioning the president’s cognitive ability given his visibly frequent confusion at pubic events, even struggling to read a teleprompter at times. The White House had to embark on rapid damage control, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explaining that the president was preparing to welcome Walorski’s family to the White House to attend the bill-signing ceremony, so that’s why “she was on his mind. She was at top of mind for the president.”
“But I think the confusing part is why, if she and the family is top of mind, does the president think that she’s living and in the room?” a reporter questioned Jean-Pierre, to which she responded: “I don’t find that confusing” because the apparent gaffe was “not an unusual scenario.”
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