Good heavens, the CDC better check the water supply at the New York Times. First, as noted here over the weekend, the Times discovered the farce of California’s high speed rail. Now they’ve discovered (also decades later than sensate people, but still) that Joe Biden makes things up.
The exaggerated biography that Mr. Biden tells includes having been a fierce civil rights activist who was repeatedly arrested. He has claimed to have been an award-winning student who earned three degrees. And last week, speaking on the hurricane-devastated island of Puerto Rico, he said he had been “raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically.”
For more than four decades, Mr. Biden has embraced storytelling as a way of connecting with his audience, often emphasizing the truth of his account by adding, “Not a joke!” in the middle of a story. But Mr. Biden’s folksiness can veer into folklore, with dates that don’t quite add up and details that are exaggerated or wrong, the factual edges shaved off to make them more powerful for audiences.
Of course the Times labors mightily to reassure its tender readers that Trump was worse, and place it in the “context” that all presidents lie, and maybe Biden isn’t really any worse than others, like Bill Clinton. (Let us be thankful that Biden doesn’t lie about sex. I can only imagine. . .)
But this attempt let Biden off the hook can’t be sustained very long amidst the barrage of Biden’s fabulism about himself:
[A]s he campaigned for the presidency in 2019, Mr. Biden described how he had traveled to Afghanistan to pin a Silver Star on a Navy captain for retrieving the body of a fellow American from a 60-foot ravine.
“This is the God’s truth,” he said, repeating a story he had told many times, “my word as a Biden.”
But as The Washington Post pointed out, it was an Army specialist, not a Navy captain, who had rescued his comrade. Former President Barack Obama, not Mr. Biden, awarded that soldier the Presidential Medal of Honor, not the Silver Star. And the ceremony took place at the White House, not in Afghanistan. . .
At least four times, Mr. Biden has described a ride on Amtrak to visit his sick mother in 2015 or 2016, recalling a conversation with a friendly train conductor. But Mr. Biden’s mother died in 2010. The conductor also had been dead for several years by 2015.
Last year, Mr. Biden said he remembered “spending time at” and “going to” the Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 people were massacred in 2018. The White House later admitted he had never visited, but had talked to the rabbi on the phone.
The most curious stories that Mr. Biden continues to tell may be the ones about his interactions with the law.
Earlier this year, Mr. Biden suggested during a speech in Atlanta on voting rights that he had been arrested while protesting for civil rights.
“Because I’m so damn old, I was there as well,” he said. “You think I’m kidding, man. It seems like yesterday the first time I got arrested.”
There is no evidence he was ever arrested during a civil-rights protest.
During the 2020 campaign, he said he had been arrested while visiting Nelson Mandela in South Africa. He later admitted he had been blocked from moving by police, but not arrested. In 2008, he said he had been arrested as a college student following a group of women into an all-female dorm. He hadn’t, as he conceded years later. In 2007, he recounted being arrested by a Capitol Police officer as a 21-year-old student in 1963. But in his memoir, he writes that the officer “didn’t arrest me or anything.”
It is clear that there was something wrong with Biden even before senility overtook him.