We’ve still got one day to go in August. Just what gaffe, misstatement, or made-up story will Joe Biden tell next?
It’s not exactly breaking news that Joe Biden has been gaffe-prone for most of his political life. It’s also not new news Biden tends to fabricate or embellish stories about himself while on the campaign trail to impress crowds.
Just this month alone, he’s committed so many blunders and misstatements that most of us have lost count.
Thanks to The Washington Post engaging in some actual journalism for a change, we can add “making up war stories that never happened” to the list.
On Thursday, the paper wrote about a story Biden told in New Hampshire about a trip to Afghanistan as vice president over a decade ago at the request of a four-star general.
As Biden told it, the general wanted him to bestow the Silver Star on a Navy captain who had rescued the body of a fallen soldier amid enemy fire. The captain told Biden during the awards ceremony that he didn’t deserve the award because the soldier he had rescued had died, according to Biden.
The story was very moving the way Biden told it, and he assured the crowd that “This is the God’s truth, my word as a Biden” that the story was true.
But the Post looked into the details of the story he told and concluded that the events the 2020 presidential candidate described “never happened:”
Except almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect. Based on interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.
Biden visited Konar province in 2008 as a U.S. senator, not as vice president. The service member who performed the celebrated rescue that Biden described was a 20-year-old Army specialist, not a much older Navy captain. And that soldier, Kyle J. White, never had a Silver Star, or any other medal, pinned on him by Biden. At a White House ceremony six years after Biden’s visit, White stood at attention as President Barack Obama placed a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, around his neck.
The upshot: In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.
The Post noted later in the piece that Biden has told the story many times over the years, especially since 2016, and each time he was less and less accurate. However, they did provide one tiny silver lining for Biden as it related to medal-pinning:
One element of Biden’s story is rooted in an actual event: In 2011, the vice president did pin a medal on a heartbroken soldier, Army Staff Sgt. Chad Workman, who didn’t believe he deserved the award.
Biden was asked about the story late Thursday afternoon by the paper, and here’s what he said:
In an interview with Washington Post opinion columnist Jonathan Capehart after the report was first published, Biden suggested he was telling Workman’s story in New Hampshire, although almost none of the details he offered matched what actually happened to Workman.
“I was making the point how courageous these people are, how incredible they are, this generation of warriors, these fallen angels we’ve lost,” he said. “I don’t know what the problem is. What is it that I said wrong?”
Biden was interviewed by South Carolina’s Post and Courier Thursday evening after a town hall event, and they asked him about the WaPo’s report. He employed the fake but accurate defense. Here are excerpts from that interview:
Post and Courier: Did you conflate details of those different stories?
Biden: “No I don’t think so, but I haven’t seen the article.”
Post and Courier: The reason why some people are looking at this story, even though it’s just about one story in New Hampshire that you told, is broader concerns about misstatements on the trail. Obviously folks have asked you about your age and you’ve said we should judge by your performance.
Biden: “I think it’s ridiculous. The essence — that there’s anything I said about that that wasn’t the essence of the story. The story was that he refused the medal because the fella he tried to save and risked his life saving died. That’s the beginning, middle and end. The rest of you guys can take it and do what you want with it.”
Read the full Q&A the paper did with him on the Washington Post’s write-up here.
Naturally, Biden is widely mocked and ridiculed by conservatives in response to this news:
And that’s how you get Elizabeth Warren. Congratulations Democrats.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) August 29, 2019
Not to be outdone by Hillary's made-up sniper fire in Bosnia, Joe Biden has been telling voters a phony war story.
Biden's barely been in the race for 4 months and his campaign is already a mess. https://t.co/QZmMPYbIG5
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 30, 2019
"It was 20 minutes before dawn on D-Day and this 9-star general says to me, 'Mr. President, it's too dangerous for you to go in there…'"@MarkSteynOnline mocks @JoeBiden on @TuckerCarlson after Biden was called out for false war story on the campaign trail. pic.twitter.com/KPBhKYMy66
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 30, 2019
Though their reporting was thorough, The Washington Post didn’t escape criticism, either, including from former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, who smells an oppo dump:
Not in any way taking anything away from the reporters, who undoubtedly reported it out, but this reads like the product of a pretty sophisticated opposition research dump,https://t.co/fsml8AXB47
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) August 29, 2019
Imagine a @washingtonpost headline,
"As he campaigns for president, Donald Trump tells a moving but false war story"
The Trump headline would be:
"Lying on the campaign trail, erratic and slipping in polls, Donald Trump is making up war stories"
Biden’s lies are "moving". ? pic.twitter.com/aCuPPRsOEQ
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) August 29, 2019
We’ve still got one day to go in August. Just what gaffe, misstatement or made-up story will Joe Biden tell next?
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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