President Biden’s speech briefly paused after LSU women’s basketball star collapses during White House visit
A scary moment brought President Biden’s White House speech commemorating the LSU women’s basketball team’s national championship to a screeching halt.
LSU Tigers forward Sa’Myah Smith suddenly collapsed as the president was making remarks.
The White House medical staff responded to Smith in the East Room Wednesday afternoon, and she eventually left the room in a wheelchair.
The White House’s live video feed was cut after the collapse, with a message saying “resuming shortly” appearing on the screen.
Several minutes later, the ceremony resumed.
“This is not the first time it has happened,” the president once the event resumed. “White House guests have fainted in the past and required a checkup at a doctor’s office built into the executive mansion.”
Smith, a freshman from Texas, appeared in every game for LSU this past season, averaging 4.6 points.
There had been some uncertainty about LSU’s visit to Washington after first lady Jill Biden previously suggested the Iowa women’s basketball team 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 turn down the invitation to the White House.
“I don’t accept [Jill Biden’s] apology because of, ‘you said what you said’ … and like, you can’t go back on certain things that you say,” Reese said on a podcast at the time. “[Iowa] can have that spotlight. We’ll go to the Obamas’. We’ll see Michelle. We’ll see Barack.”
The president seemed to make an attempt at mending fences by commending Reese for helping drive up the cost of tickets for LSU women’s games.
Later in the day, the president hosted the national champion UConn men’s basketball team. The Huskies defeated the San Diego State Aztecs 76-59 last month in Houston.