Biden Swears War Story He Told on Trail Is ‘The God’s Truth.’ It’s Not.

Biden Swears War Story He Told on Trail Is ‘The God’s Truth.’ It’s Not.

Fairly or unfairly, Joe Biden entered the 2020 presidential campaign with the label of a gaffe-prone fabulist whose advanced age might hinder his mental acuity firmly affixed to him. Stories such as this report from The Washington Post will only reinforce it.

The Post follows Biden’s telling a story during a recent campaign stop in New Hampshire meant to highlight his unwavering support of America’s troops. In this tale, the former vice president went to Afghanistan to bestow a medal on a soldier who had rappelled down a ravine to help a wounded comrade. Some people thought it was too dangerous a trip, but Biden brushed them off.

Then the soldier told Biden he didn’t want the medal because the comrade he was trying to help had died:

“This is the God’s truth,” Biden had said as he told the story. “My word as a Biden.”

Except it was not the God’s truth:

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.

Since the beginning of the War on Terror in 2001, Biden has made 21 trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, where he has met with countless soldiers. No one doubts he considers such meetings one of his “most solemn obligations,” as his campaign put it in a statement to the Post. With that much traveling under his belt, it is perhaps inevitable that he would mix up some of the events he witnessed and participated in on all that travel.

The question here is whether Biden was mixed up due to age-related deterioration of his memory, or if he is a teller of tales that are easily fact-checked and found to be untrue. This latter would be especially problematic for a candidate who had to drop out of the 1988 presidential campaign when he was found to have plagairized some campaign speeches from a British politician and others.

Whichever explanation is correct, however, neither one of them says anything good about Biden and his fitness for office.

Finally, the Post asks one more question:

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. From the beginning of his presidency until the middle of last month, Trump has uttered more than 12,000 false or misleading statements, The Washington Post has found. He has continued to add to that total since then.

Common sense would seem to conclude that Democratic voters, given their loathing of Trump, would not want to nominate and defend a candidate whose serial fabulism raises similar questions about his honesty and mental fitness. But for the moment, Biden is still leading the field.

Late Thursday afternoon, Biden doubled down on his story:

Read the full story here.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.