Former Vice President Joe Biden is under fire for fabricating an emotional story about the war in Afghanistan while campaigning in New Hampshire last week.
Biden, whose penchant for confusing times and places has drawn worried whispers from even the staunchest of allies, told a heart wrenching story last Friday about being asked to pin a medal on a reluctant Navy officer. The story, which Biden told to more than 400 voters in Hanover, New Hampshire, quickly made an impact upon everyone in the room.
“A four-star general had asked the then-vice president to travel to Kunar province in Afghanistan, a dangerous foray into ‘godforsaken country’ to recognize the remarkable heroism of a Navy captain,” the Washington Post reported on Thursday. “Some told him it was too risky, but Biden said he brushed off their concerns.”
“We can lose a vice president,” Biden claimed to have said when asked to make the trip. “We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.”
As Biden recollected, the Navy captain “rappelled down a 60-foot ravine under fire and retrieved the body of an American comrade, carrying him on his back.” When the captain’s superiors wanted to honor his bravery with a “Silver Star,” the officer refused as it “felt like a failure” because his comrade had died.
“He said, ‘Sir, I don’t want the damn thing!’” said Biden, his “jaw clenched” and “voice rising to a shout,” according to the Post. “’Do not pin it on me, Sir! Please, Sir. Do not do that! He died. He died!’”
The raw emotion Biden exhibited when telling the harrowing story of bravery and loss left those in attendance “silent.”
“This is the God’s truth,” the former vice president added. “My word as a Biden.”
The only problem, as the Post reported, was that “almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect.”:
Biden visited Kunar province in 2008 as a U.S. senator, not as vice president. The service member who performed the celebrated rescue that Biden described was a 20-year-old Army specialist, not a much older Navy captain. And that soldier, Kyle J. White, never had a Silver Star, or any other medal, pinned on him by Biden. At a White House ceremony six years after Biden’s visit, White stood at attention as President Barack Obama placed a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, around his neck.
Upon further investigation, the paper concluded that Biden had conflated three separate stories, including one in which he actually “did pin a medal on a heartbroken soldier, Army Staff Sgt. Chad Workman, who didn’t believe he deserved the award.”
“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,” the Post elaborated.
The story and its inaccuracies come to light as Biden’s campaign is besieged by doubts over his fitness for the presidency after a string of perplexing gaffes. In particular, the former vice president has shown difficulty remembering specific events, locations, and individuals during public appearances.
When campaigning in South Carolina on Wednesday, Biden appeared to forget the name of his former runningmate, President Barack Obama.
“They invaded a significant portion of another country and annexed a significant portion of it called Crimea,” Biden said when discussing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “He’s saying it was President — my boss — it was his fault.”
Such lapses have become more frequent in recent weeks, with Biden at one point even claiming he was vice president during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida.
“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president,” Biden said earlier this month, before claiming that when the survivors visited Congress, lawmakers were “basically cowering, not wanting to see them. They did not want to face it on camera.”
Many were quick to point out that the tragic shooting, which resulted in 17 fatalities and over a dozen injuries, actually occurred on February 14, 2018 — more than a year after Biden left office.
In response to such questionable conduct, an increasing number of individuals on the left have begun raising concerns over Biden’s capacity to serve as commander in chief.
“Biden and his team owe it to voters to put him on a real, rigorous public campaign schedule, like everyone else,” Adam Jentleson, a one time top aide to former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), said recently.
“If he can hack it, great. If not, better to know sooner rather than later,” Jentleson added. “Keeping him under wraps except for big events while trying to skate by is just sketchy.”