White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has some competition for the worst spin on Biden’s apparent forgetting that Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) died nearly two months ago in a car crash.

Jill Lawrence of USA Today, after seeing the Biden gaffe, concluded that it was not what it seemed. Instead of looking at it as proof of his diminished mental health, she sees it as a demonstration of empathy, which, of course, she argued, contrasts with the alleged lack of decency of Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis.

In an article titled, “What Joe Biden’s memory lapse about the late Jackie Walorski really told us,” Lawrence tries desperately to convince us that 2+2=5, and only manages to embarrass herself in the process.

I shuddered when I learned that President Joe Biden had called out to a crowd in search of a congresswoman who died nearly two months ago in an automobile accident. He’s going to turn 80 in November and let’s face it, this seemed like a memory fail – a particularly embarrassing one.

Yet there’s another way to look at this: Biden was trying to credit the late Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski – a lawmaker who voted on Jan. 6, 2021, to object to his presidential victory in Arizona and Pennsylvania and who this March labeled his agenda “radical & reckless” – for her good work on nutrition and hunger.

It’s unfortunate that he made the mistake. At the same time, it demonstrated a generosity and professionalism that was also present in Biden’s Tuesday conversation with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a frequent and harsh Biden critic, as Hurricane Ian bore down on his state.

Unlike Jean-Pierre, who refused to concede that Biden misspoke, claiming that Walorski had been “on top of mind” when Biden was clearly looking for her in the crowd, Lawrence at least acknowledged that this was an embarrassing memory lapse—but deemed it irrelevant because he was recognizing her efforts in making the conference happen. That’s a bizarre argument to make in the aftermath of Biden snubbing Governor DeSantis before Hurricane Ian made landfall earlier this week by only calling various Florida mayors and not him as well—which she also tried to spin as a positive for Joe Biden.

Jean-Pierre was asked multiple questions by multiple reporters on Biden’s Walorski gaffe, and others in the media were similarly not convinced by the White House spin. Lawrence, however, seems willing to die on the Biden’s-Mental-Health-Isn’t-Actually-an-Issue hill.

“As so many of us know from our own lives, with age come memory lapses, and that’s often the least of it,” Lawrence continued. “I am already on record as a fan of Biden’s presidency while at the same time hoping he won’t run for reelection in 2024. But let’s put this moment in perspective. You need only look back a couple of years to remember that some things are more important than age and a perfect memory.”

In other words, she’d sooner have a vegetable for president than Donald Trump.

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