Biden apologises to family of dead congresswoman for ‘Where’s Jackie?’ gaffe

Jackie Walorski’s brother says family has ‘no hard feelings’ against him

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 04 October 2022 14:25 BST
Joe Biden appears to forget death of Congresswoman as he calls on her at event

Joe Biden has apologised to the family of late congresswoman Jackie Walorski at the White House after asking them where she was more than a month after she died.

At an event on 28 September, Mr Biden had asked for Walorski, who had died in early August, after which he was reminded by the late congresswoman’s mother that she was “in heaven with Jesus”.

Social media had criticised and mocked Mr Biden for the gaffe because he had issued a joint statement with his wife and first lady Jill Biden expressing their condolences for Ms Walorski’s death.

Mr Biden had ordered the lowering of White House flags for two days as well, after the late congresswoman’s death.

The president on Friday apologised to the Indiana Republican’s 83-year-old mother Martha Walorski and her widowed husband Dean Swihart in the Oval Office of the White House.

The private meeting with the family lasted half an hour.

At an anti-hunger event on 28 September, Mr Biden had asked the mother “Where’s Jackie?”

“Well, Mr President, we can tell you where Jackie is. She’s in heaven with Jesus,” Ms Walorski had replied.

The late congresswoman’s brother Keith Walorski, was quoted as saying by the New York Post that “he could only agree. He’s a very Catholic person. He’s very strong in his Catholicism. So all he could do is say, ‘Yes, you’re right. I know.’”

The brother added: “He did apologise for the ‘Where’s Jackie?’ comment and our family assured him we have no hard feelings. We forgive him for his gaffe.

“President Biden brought it up and basically said he was sorry that things went the way he went with his ‘Where’s Jackie?’ comment. We didn’t dwell there a long time. He basically put it out there and apologised and we basically accepted his apology.”

Walorski died in a car crash on 3 August in Indiana.

The gaffe led to renewed criticism on social media about Mr Biden, whose critics have often attacked him for being forgetful and have speculated on his mental health.

The “Where’s Jackie” gaffe also spurred the sale of “Where’s Jackie?” merchandise.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in