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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden tells the convoluted story of an Amtrak driver who praised him during his vice presidency for covering more miles on the train back to Delaware than flying on Air Force Two.

“I apologize because some have heard this,” Biden told a crowd on Monday in New Jersey, starting a story he repeated in various forms at least five times, dating back to the 2020 campaign.

“I swear to God. True story,” he said Monday, to emphasize.

But he is a cripple.

By his own records, Biden’s Amtrak miles over the years only exceeded his two Air Force miles after the death of the driver who allegedly informed him of this fact. Additionally, the conductor had retired about two decades before the conversation Biden claims to have had with him as he boarded a train.

BIDEN: “I have commuted every day, 263 miles a day, on Amtrak since I was elected United States Senator. In fact, when I was vice president, I liked taking the train home when my mom was very sick and dying, and I would come home every weekend to make sure I got the train back. the House. …

“And I have one Friday, then one of Amtrak’s senior executives, Angelo Negri – I have known all the conductors very well; they have become my friends. … And Ang walks up to me and says, “Joey, baby! Grab my cheek. And I thought the Secret Service was going to blow his head off. … I said, ‘What’s up, Ang?’ He said, “Joey, I read in the newspaper – I read in the newspaper that you have traveled 1,000 to 1.2 million kilometers in Air Force planes” – because they keep a meticulous eye on it. I said, ‘Yeah.’ … He said, “Do you know how many miles you rode on Amtrak, Joey?” And I said, ‘No.’ He said, “The boys and I got it… He said, ‘You’re traveling 2 million…” – I think it was 180, but – “2,200,000 miles.

“I said, ‘How did you get that answer? He said, ‘Well, 267 miles a day. We thought you traveled 119 days a year for 36 years, and then you traveled as vice president. And then he says, ‘So, Joey, I don’t want to hear that about the Air Force anymore.’ “

THE FACTS: The story as Biden tells it is wrong. Negri could not have had this conversation as he was already deceased by the time Biden flew 1.2 million miles on Air Force Two.

Biden refers to a train ride he took to Delaware when he was vice president and his mother was sick and dying. He explains that this happened shortly after driving 1.2 million miles, prompting Negri to comment on his mileage on Amtrak in comparison. On previous occasions, when Biden told the story, he also indicated that it all happened around his “fourth or fifth year” as vice president – or 2012-2013 – albeit in an interpretation of the story told to a crowd in Scranton, Pa. last week, Biden suggested it was in his seventh year, which would be 2015.

Either way, Biden’s mother, Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden, passed away in 2010, well before the middle of her vice presidency.

It’s plausible that Biden rode 1.2 million train miles as vice president early 2016,based on accounts from the time of Biden and David Lienemann, the vice president’s official photographer. But Negri had long retired as an Amtrak conductor, in 1993, and died in May 2014.

Biden made Amtrak trips between Washington and his home in Delaware most days as a senator when Congress was in session so he could help raise his sons. Amtrak’s round trip is actually 220 miles or 354 kilometers, no more than 260 miles (418 km) as it describes.

It’s quite possible that he had warm conversations with Negri, and his stepdaughter told CNN the two were friends. It’s also possible that Biden spoke with another Amtrak driver in late 2015 or early 2016 after his apparent stint on Air Force Two.

But Biden twists the timeline in a way that makes the story wrong. He has said so, with variations, with more frequency as he presents his infrastructure plan. Monday’s remarks took place at the New Jersey Transit rail maintenance facility in Kearny.

Biden’s story has drawn repeated criticism from conservative groups. When asked to verify the facts in May, White House senior deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she was unfamiliar with the details.


Editor’s note – A look at the veracity of the assertions of political figures.


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Hope Yen and Calvin Woodward, The Associated Press

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