About that guy who pinched Joe Biden's cheek...
Certain words from an old Britney Spears song go, "Oops! I did it again."
President Biden just did it again: telling a fictitious, mendacious story about himself, one that has been fact-checked repeatedly as false.
This latest time happened in Hamilton, Ohio last Friday. Biden was visiting a small factory there to hype up support for his latest bill, the "Bipartisan Innovation Bill," which is now making its way through Congress. It sounds like an extension of last year's Infrastructure Bill.
Sitting behind Biden in attendance were both of Ohio's senators, Robert Portman and Sherrod Brown.
At around the 27:30 mark of his speech, Biden got into the Angelo Negri story again. All dialogue is guaranteed verbatim.
27:33 — ... I, you'll you'll get a kick out of this, Sherrod [Sen. Sherrod Brown], I was, uh — the Secret Service doesn't like me taking the train, because it stops too many places, and de, and so I was ridin' home though to see my mom, who was living with me because she was in hospice ...
The lie then proceeded as it always does, with Angelo Negri pinching "Joey, baby!" on his cheek and then asking him rhetorically, in a rhythmical Italian-American accent that Biden affects when telling the story, if he knows how many miles Biden has ridden over the years on Amtrak. He proceeds to tell him — 1.2 million miles in total.
First of all, the way Biden told the story on this latest occasion makes no arithmetical sense. In Biden's latest version, Negri assumed that Biden had commuted 222 times a year, every year, for the entire 36 years that he'd been in the Senate.
The presumption therefore must be, Monday–Friday, daily, 52 weeks a year, every year — which, however, brings us to 210 M–F days a year.
But go with 222 days. If the "round trip" were 270 miles, and if Biden did this on every single M–F for 36 years, then, including leap years and the odd day that goes on the end of every year, that means, in 36 years, there are about 7,592 M–Fs (7,560 + 7 + 25). 7,592 x 270 miles = 2,049,840 miles, not 1.2 million.
But this ignores the fact that there are numerous federal holidays and frequent Senate recesses, including the entire month of August; it also ignores the times Biden might have overnighted in D.C. or Senate absences to campaign or the out-of-town or out-of-country junkets Biden made on numerous occasions. Without knowing Biden's exact schedule for 36 years, and it's inconceivable Negri had this, it is impossible to calculate the miles.
Furthermore, the Amtrak round trip Washington-to-Wilmington isn't 270 miles; it's 197.6 miles.
In short, the story is already gibberish. But this is minor in comparison to the fact that Angelo Negri retired in 1993, 14–22 years before Biden has claimed that the incident happened.
There is no doubt that Negri retired in 1993. Here is his obituary and funeral home announcement.
- On April 30, 2021, speaking at the Amtrak station in Philadelphia, Biden claimed that Negri told him it was 1.5 million miles, and Biden "guessed" that Negri pinched his cheek in the fourth or fifth year of his vice presidency. Also, this story couldn't have happened because the fourth year of Biden's vice presidency was 2012, but his mother died early in 2010.
- On June 29, 2021, Biden repeated the story in a speech given in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
- Biden told this story to Boris Johnson at the White House on September 21.
- On October 20, Biden traveled to Avoca, Pennsylvania, and repeated the same story, but this time estimated that it happened around the seventh year of his vice presidency, which would be around 2015, 22 years after Negri retired and 5 years after his mother passed on.
- Five days later, Biden traveled to Kearney, New Jersey, and in a speech there retold the tall tale, this time saying, "True story, I swear to God."
- On December 8, Biden spoke in Kansas City and repeated the same story.
All in all, on May 6, The New York Post said Biden has made this false claim seven times since he's been president. I guess I must have missed one of the times.
Last June 30, the day after Biden iterated the lie in Wisconsin, CNN — hey, give the devil credit where it is due — fact-checked the story and found it to be FALSE. Its headline read, "Fact check: Biden keeps repeating a false story about an Amtrak conductor he knew."
As I said, Senator Rob Portman attended the speech. He sat not ten feet from Biden. He missed a golden chance to attain immortality on his way out the door into retirement next year.
When Biden uttered this lie again at the Ohio speech last Friday, Portman should have quietly walked up to Biden, speaking to the mic that Biden was holding in his hand, and said, "Mr. President, you have just told a lie. Angelo Negri retired in 1993. Your story is impossible and false.
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.