A terrifying moment brought President Biden’s speech at the White House commemorating the LSU women’s basketball team’s national championship to a halt.
LSU Tigers forward Sa’Myah Smith suddenly collapsed as the president made remarks.
White House medical staff responded to Smith in the East Room on Wednesday afternoon and he eventually left the room in a wheelchair.
The live video feed from the White House was cut off after the collapse, and a message reading «resuming shortly» appeared on the screen.
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Several minutes later, the ceremony resumed.
“It is not the first time that it has happened,” said the president once the event resumed. «White House guests have passed out in the past and required a check-up at a physician’s office built into the executive mansion.»
Smith, a freshman from Texas, appeared in every LSU game last season, averaging 4.6 points.
There was some uncertainty about LSU’s visit to Washington after first lady Jill Biden previously suggested that the Iowa women’s basketball team would also receive an invitation to the White House.
The Iowa Hawkeyes lost 102-85 to LSU in the national title game.
LSU star Angel Reese, whom President Biden accidentally called «Angela» earlier in the day before correcting himself, shared a hug with the first lady at the celebration.
Last month, Reese hinted that the Tigers might decide to decline the invitation to the White House.
«I do not accept [Jill Biden’s] Sorry for ‘you said what you said’ … and you can’t take back certain things you say,» Reese said on a podcast at the time. «[Iowa] you can have that spotlight. We’re going to the Obamas’ house. We’ll see Michelle. We’ll see Barack.»
The president seemed to make an attempt to patch things up by praising Reese for helping raise the cost of tickets for LSU women’s games.
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Later that day, the president hosted the UConn national champion men’s basketball team. The Huskies defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 76-59 last month in Houston.