Jackie Walorski’s family saw the president in the Oval Office on Friday, only days after it seemed that he had forgotten that the congresswoman had passed away. Joe Biden offered his condolences.
At a bill signing where he forbade cameras, the late representative’s mother Martha ‘Mert’ Walorski, 83, informed Biden, 79, that her daughter was ‘in paradise.’ Rep. Walorski’s brother Keith told the New York Post.
Dean Swihart, the widower of Walorski, also attended the bill signing at the White House on Friday, when the family had a private meeting with the president.
The gathering comes after Biden made headlines last week for asking, “Where’s Jackie?” during a speech despite though she had passed away a month before.
We can tell you where Jackie is, Mr. President. According to her son’s description of what happened, Martha Walorski informed Biden on Friday that she was in paradise with Jesus.
Regarding Biden’s response, Keith said, “He could only agree.” He is a devout Catholic. His Catholicism is quite strong. He was thus limited to saying, “Yes, you’re correct.” I know.”
On Friday, Biden helped the family clean up. He gave the family a tour of the West Wing, including his private dining room and the infrequently used outdoor swimming pool, and invited Martha to sit in his chair at the Resolute Desk for a picture opportunity.
The president was thanking senators for their efforts on a plan to eradicate hunger in the United States by 2030 during a Wednesday event on hunger and food insecurity when he abruptly attempted to find Walorski.
Do you have Jackie here? Biden remarked, breaking off from his own statement.
Who is Jackie? I guess she’s not here,” Biden said.
Soon after, the White House launched into a convoluted and absurd defense of the president’s search for the deceased congressman as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly insisted that the president was aware of Walorski’s passing.
She emphasized that it’s “not uncommon” for people to mention the names of those who have passed away when they are “at front of mind,” a claim she made throughout her briefing on Wednesday in response to inquiries from many media outlets, including CNN, CBS, and The Washington Post.
According to Jean-Pierre, Walorski was on the president’s mind since she contributed to the hunger plan and he was meeting with her family on Friday to sign a measure.
Just two days after the error, Biden’s communications staff forbade cameras and media from covering the Walorski family’s bill signing.
As you are all aware, not every bill signing is scheduled, Jean-Pierre informed the media.
She said, “As you could guess, the president was doing this for personal reasons.
The president has been anticipating visiting the late representative’s family and other politicians to celebrate her memory, as I said in the briefing a few days ago.
During an almost 30-minute discussion with the family last week, Biden expressed his regret.
As he signed the legislation renaming an Indiana Veterans Affairs clinic in Walorksi’s name, he greeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other politicians in the Oval Office.
Four individuals, including Walorski, perished in a head-on accident in her native state in early August.
The driver of the second car, two of her employees, and two additional people perished in the collision.
Biden issued a statement on Walorski after the collision and ordered that flags be flown at half-mast.
Keith, Jackie’s brother, said in an interview before his trip to the White House that he was not upset with Biden for the error and that he had spoken to the president after the fatal accident last month.
He said that Biden is “doing the best he can with what he’s got right now and the recent error is ‘par for the course,'” saying that he was pitying the president.
Keith did admit that “a good way of phrasing it” is that Biden forgets things because he is old.
He said, “I don’t believe anybody would look at the things he’s done and said and claim that his intellect is as keen as it used to be.”