Biden bans cameras from bill signing with family of dead congresswoman who he called onto stage

President Joe Biden banned cameras from his bill signing on Friday to name a Veterans Affairs clinic in memory of late Rep. Jackie Walorski who died last month.

The move comes just two days after the president, 79, erroneously called out for Walorski at a speech in Washington on Wednesday.

White House officials stumbled to spin the latest of the president’s gaffes in the immediate aftermath, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying that the Indiana congresswoman was just on the ‘top’ of Biden’s mind because of the bill signing.

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She said at the time that Biden ‘very much looks forward to discussing her remarkable legacy of public service with them when he sees her family this coming Friday.’

The White House was also scheduled to play a video tribute to Walorski during the event.

But on Friday, Jean-Pierre seemed to take a different approach, saying it was a private moment between the president, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Walorski’s friends and family.

‘As you all know, we don’t put every bill signing on the schedule,’ she told reporters, adding: ‘As you could imagine, this is a personal moment that the president was doing.

‘Like I mentioned in the briefing a couple of days ago, the president has been looking forward to hosting the late representatives’ family and other lawmakers to honor her legacy.’

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained away Biden's gaffe, saying the Indiana congresswoman was just on the 'top' of Biden's mind because of the bill signing'

KJP said Biden 'very much looks forward to discussing her remarkable legacy of public service with them when he sees her family this coming Friday'

President Joe  Biden banned camera from a bill signing to rename a Veterans Affairs clinic in memory of a late congresswoman on Friday, just days after he erroneously called out for her

Walorski, who was 58 at the time of her death, was among four people killed in a head-on collision on August 3, 2022 when returning from a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Claypool, Indiana. She is pictured here with her husband

Walorski, who was 58 at the time of her death, was among four people killed in a head-on collision on August 3, 2022 when returning from a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Claypool, Indiana. 

The driver of the other vehicle, as well as two staffers in the lawmaker’s office, also died. Communications director, Emma Thomson, 28, and her district director, Zachery Potts, 27, both lost their lives.

Biden released a statement on Walorski’s passing at the time and announced that White House flags would fly at half-staff in her honor.

But he seemed to have forgotten all about that when addressing the crowd gathered for the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

The president thanked lawmakers for their work on a plan to end hunger in the U.S. by 2030, when he suddenly asked where Walorski was located.

‘Jackie, are you here?’ Biden said, interrupting his own remarks.   

‘Where’s Jackie? She must not be here,’ Biden concluded. 

Biden, 79, named the late congresswoman while thanking lawmakers from both parties for their efforts in helping his plan to end hunger in the United States

The White House soon launched a confusing and nonsensical explanation for why the president was looking for the late representative, as Jean-Pierre repeatedly claimed that the president did not forget that Walorski was dead.

She insisted that it’s ‘not unusual’ for people to say the names of deceased individuals when they are ‘at top of mind,’ a phrase she continued to repeat throughout her briefing Wednesday during questions from multiple outlets including CNN, CBS and The Washington Post. 

‘I don’t find that confusing,’ she said when asked if having her at ‘top of mind’ also means that the president thinks Walorski is living and in the room. 

‘I mean I think many people can speak to sometimes when you have people top of mind, they are top of mind,’ she said.

The reporter then got snarky with Jean-Pierre, looking for an answer by saying: ‘I have John Lennon top of mind just about every day but I’m not looking around for him.’

‘When you sign a bill for John Lennon as president then we can have this conversation,’ she said, launching the briefing room into confusion and shouting over each other.

Jean-Pierre repeatedly said that Joe Biden was only calling out for late Representative Jackie Walorski on Wednesday because she was 'at top of mind' due to the upcoming bill signing

Jean-Pierre repeatedly said that Joe Biden was only calling out for late Representative Jackie Walorski on Wednesday because she was ‘at top of mind’ due to the upcoming bill signing

The botched excuse ended up garnering even more negative attention than the initial remarks from Biden. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Press Secretary Doug Adres seemed exacerbated with the way Jean-Pierre handled the gaffe, tweeting: ‘just admit he misspoke!! good grief’. 

A spokesperson for Texas Senator Ted Cruz said the day will go down in history as the first time members of the press recognized Biden is mentally unfit.

‘Remember where you where on September 28,2022,’ Steve Guest tweeted. ‘It’s the day it finally became ok for the White House Press pool to acknowledge that Joe Biden is senile.’

‘I think the American people out there who, you know, watch the briefing from time to time, maybe at this moment, will understand when someone is at top of mind,’ Jean-Pierre said.

‘I don’t think it’s all that unusual to have someone top of mind, especially as there’s a big event – two big events – today and also Friday that is going to occur,’ she said. ‘And so he is going to see her family, they’re going to honor her, they’re going to celebrate her.’

Following her death last month, the president ordered flag to half mass. The 56-year-old congresswoman is seen here with family members

Biden and first lady Jill released a statement in August following the death of Walorski and her two staff members

Biden and first lady Jill released a statement in August following the death of Walorski and her two staff members

Meanwhile, Keith Walorski, Jackie’s brother, said that he was not angry at the president for the gaffe and added that he spoke with Biden following the deadly crash last month.

Instead, Keith said he pitied the president –  claiming that Biden is ‘doing the best he can do with what he’s got right now.

He added that it’s ‘par for the course’ for the 79-year-old. 

Keith did acknowledge, however, that ‘a nice way of putting it’ is that Biden is forgetful, due to his age. 

Walorski told the New York Post: ‘I don’t think anybody would look at the things that he’s done and said and say that his mind is as sharp as it used to be.’ 

The late Representative’s brother noted that Biden was ‘very sincere’ when he called the family after his sister was killed, noting that Biden himself has been through that process. 

 ‘All I’m saying right now about the president is bless his heart for trying. Yeah, it was a big mess-up today. Inexcusable? No. Unforgivable? No. I’m not gonna hold it against him. I just feel sorry for him.’

source: dailymail.co.uk