President Biden on Wednesday encouraged either Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) or Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) to run for the Senate — creating a dilemma because incumbent Democrats hold both seats up for election in 2022.
Biden greeted Garcia and Waters, whose name he pronounced “Walders,” at a bill signing event in the White House-adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
“Yeah, we’re here,” Waters said to Biden.
“Hey Chuy, how are you, man?” Biden said.
Biden shook Garcia’s hand, then shook Waters’ hand. “Senator, I hope. You think I’m kidding, I’m not,” Biden said.
Waters, 82, shrugged and gave what appeared to be a “who knows” expression, indicating she believed Biden was talking to her.
If she sought higher office, Waters would have to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla, who was appointed this year by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) to fill the vacancy created when Kamala Harris became vice president.
Padilla has filed to run for a full six-year term in 2022.
Garcia is a relatively low-profile lawmaker, but Waters is known for hot-headed political commentary.
The judge presiding over ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s trial for murdering George Floyd said that Waters’ commentary that protesters should “get confrontational” if Chauvin was acquitted might allow the verdict to be overturned.
Waters referred to the White House as the “the White Supremacists’ House” during the Trump administration and urged protesters to “create a crowd” if they ever saw Trump cabinet members eating at a restaurant, shopping or pumping gas.
A spokeswoman for Garcia told The Post that he will not challenge incumbent Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) in 2022.
“I believe President Biden was referring to Chairwoman Maxine Waters,” said Garcia’s spokeswoman Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli.
A spokesman for Waters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House declined to clarify Biden’s remark.
Biden is known for being gaffe-prone and it’s possible he misspoke. He said last week that COVID-19 killed more Americans than all wars of the past century combined — including the US war in Iran, which never happened.