President Joe Biden has a tendency to embellish – a tendency that the right hopes to use against the incumbent as he seeks reelection.
But it’s not just the right taking note of Biden’s willingness to stretch the truth. Even mainstream publications, like The New York Times, have noted Biden’s fibbing.
“Standing in front of Floridians who had lost everything during Hurricane Ian,” The Times reported, President Biden “recalled his own house being nearly destroyed 15 years ago: “We didn’t lose our whole home, but lightning struck and we lost an awful lot of it.”
“Mr. Biden has mentioned the incident before, once saying that he knows what it’s like ‘having had a house burn down with my wife in it.’”
But that’s not quite accurate. What really happened, according to contemporaneous news reports, was “a small fire that was contained to the kitchen,” which, according to the local fire chief “was under control in 20 minutes.”
The fire story “is not an isolated example of embellishment,” The Times pointed out.
Joe Biden Has an Established History of Embellishment
“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 … speaking on the hurricane-devastated island of Puerto Rico, he said he had been ‘raised in the Puerto Rican community at home, politically,’”
It goes without saying: Biden was not raised in the Puerto Rican community. And Biden was a terrible student, limping through a low-ranked law school while being accused of plagiarism. And Biden was not a Civil Rights activist. So, it’s all nonsense. Pure BS. Granted, politicians are known to stretch the truth for their own political gain, for their own myth-building. But Biden is pretty bold.
“[Biden’s] stories have been repeatedly ad publicly challenged, as far bac as his 1987 campaign for president,” The Times reported, “when his attempts to adopt someone else’s life story as his own, and his false claim about his academic record, forced him to withdraw.”
Eric Alterman, who wrote a book about why presidents lie, said this about Biden: “He obviously has this tendency, where he’s a good and decent man who in politics has felt like he could stretch the truth up to a point just like virtually every president has done … With Biden, people have decided that these are not the kind of lies that matter. These are the kinds of lies that people’s grandfathers tell.”
Observers and strategists on the right will surely disagree with Alterman’s assessment. The House Oversight Committee, for example, recently published an article online titled “Joe Biden Lied At Least 16 Times About His Family’s Business Schemes.” Or The New York Post, which recently published an opinion piece titled “5 lies Biden is telling you today about the economy.”
Clearly, the opposition will emphasize Biden’s tendency to fib as we move into election season. And the personal narrative fibs, the ones Alterman believes are grandfatherly and don’t matter, will indeed degrade Biden’s credibility. For when Biden lies about his house burning down it will cast doubt on everything else he says, including the stuff Alterman deems important, presumably the economy or legislation.
Biden should do himself a favor and stick to the hard truth, but I imagine it’s hard to reform personal habits once you’ve reached eighty-something years old.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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