‘President Trump’s routine falsehoods have changed the standards by which other presidential aspirants, including Biden, should be judged…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed to have offered solace to student survivors of the Parkland, Fla. school massacre—even though it happened after the end of his administration.
On Thursday, the Democratic primary front-runner was caught in another embellishment about traveling to Afghanistan to pin a silver star on the lapel of an injured Navy captain.
The Washington Post relayed the riveting anecdote, delivered to a New Hampshire audience of 400 during a speech last week.
“Except almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect,” reported the Post on Thursday.
“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,” said the paper.
It comes as Biden faces increasing scrutiny over a series of gaffes and misstatements that threaten to derail his presidential bid—or at least narrow his double-digit lead in the nominating contest to take on President Donald Trump next year.
“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 said.
Biden defended his telling of the story in a follow-up interview with the Post after their initial report had been published.
“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 told opinion columnist Jonathan Capehart. “I don’t know what the problem is. What is it that I said wrong?”
The Post noted that the 76-year-old Biden’s flourishes were more than simply the effect of senility. Rather, they touched on a longstanding pattern of blurring fact and fiction, including a plagiarism scandal that ended his first run for president in 1988.
Similar troubles plagued 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who caught figurative flak for falsely claiming to have taken literal flak—or rather, sniper fire—after landing at a Bosnian airport.
After defending his account to the Post, Biden later denied, during a stop in South Carolina on Thursday, that he was even aware of the newspaper’s reporting.
He reiterated his line to the Charleston Post and Courier that the spirit of his story was truthful, if not the substance, according to Politico, even partially retelling the tale in language that closely paralleled the earlier version.
“I don’t understand what they’re talking about, but the central point is it was absolutely accurate what I said,” Biden said. “He refused the medal. I put it on him, he said, ‘Don’t do that to me, sir. He died. He died.’”
Although the Post analysis noted that the tear-jerking story had been told and revised many times through the years as Biden sought to highlight his patriotic, pro-military sentiments, the paper seemed to give him a pass on the long-repeated falsehood, saying the Trump era had recontextualized the telling of political mistruths.
The Jeff Bezos-owned paper then cited a widely disputed statistic from its own partisan-leaning fact-checkers that Trump told more than 12,000 lies from the start of his presidency through mid-July of 2019.
“One big question facing candidates and voters more than 30 years later is whether President Trump’s routine falsehoods have changed the standards by which other presidential aspirants, including Biden, should be judged,” the paper’s news section opined.