The Washington Post’s chief fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, has raised concerns about several stories that President Biden has repeatedly shared with the public, suggesting embellishments or inaccuracies in his anecdotes. Kessler’s analysis suggests that Biden has a propensity for exaggerating or embellishing his personal stories, leading to doubts about his truthfulness.
One of the stories in question is President Biden’s recent retelling of a fire incident at his house in 2004. Kessler pointed out that Biden had claimed “a couple of firefighters” almost died in the fire, his 1967 Corvette was nearly destroyed, and a “significant portion” of his house burned. However, contemporary news accounts provided a less dramatic picture, stating that there were no injuries, and firefighters quickly contained the fire to one room.
Another story that Kessler fact-checked was Biden’s anecdote about an Amtrak conductor named Angelo Negri, who supposedly congratulated him for traveling more on Amtrak than on Air Force One as vice president. Kessler found this story implausible since Biden did not pass the 1.2 million-mile mark on Amtrak until 2016, while Negri had retired from Amtrak in 1993 and passed away in 2014.
President Biden’s narrative about an encounter with his father regarding two men kissing in the early 1960s was also scrutinized. Kessler pointed out that the scene described by Biden would have been unusual at the time, as public displays of affection between gay men were generally not accepted. Additionally, Biden’s story had evolved over time, raising questions about its accuracy.
Kessler also challenged Biden’s civil rights stories, particularly his claim of being arrested for advocating on behalf of Black people. The fact-checker found discrepancies in the details, suggesting that Biden’s involvement in the civil rights movement was limited to minor activities such as participating in a walkout at a restaurant and picketing a segregated movie theater.
The White House defended President Biden’s honesty, with Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates emphasizing the president’s commitment to honesty and integrity. Bates stated that Biden “gives the American people the truth” and takes pride in being transparent about his agenda and values, including sharing life experiences that resonate with hard-working individuals.