During a recent gathering with American armed forces personnel, President Joe Biden found himself in the limelight of social media yet again after an interaction recorded on video. The event, a cinema experience for the military stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, found Biden in a heartfelt conversation with a young attendee.
Upon noticing a small girl in the vicinity, the President decided to engage her in conversation. He began by inquiring about her name, following which he ventured a guess about her age, asking if she was 17. This remark drew an immediate, chivalrous correction from her brother, who clarified that she was, in fact, only 6 years old.
This innocent yet humorous exchange triggered a myriad of reactions from the public. Social media platforms teemed with sardonic comments and jests, especially revolving around the President’s age-related gaffe. Partisans from the Republican National Committee’s Research team added fuel to the fire by linking to Biden’s further comment at the event: ‘I like kids better than people.’
As reported by Fox News, President Biden’s address to the servicemen and women during the ‘Friendsgiving’ meal involved him highlighting the pivotal role of the government.
He emphasized the solemn duty of the state to support those who risk life and limb for their country, ensuring they and their families are wholeheartedly cared for when they return home. Above all, he stressed, they should always be remembered.
BIDEN: “I love your ears” pic.twitter.com/6orEXcUwBs
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 19, 2023
However, accusation of embellishment wasn’t far behind. Biden’s recollection of certain past events, reportedly at odds with the historical record, sparked criticism. In particular, a claim made during the gathering, involving his alleged appointment to the United States Naval Academy, stood in the crosshairs.
In his speech, President Biden claimed that he holds the Navy close to his heart. He further stated that he had initially planned on joining the Naval Academy and playing football, only to change his decision after learning about the daunting challenges from seasoned footballer teammates like Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino.
Fox News, in its coverage, noted that Biden had previously asserted to Air Force graduates in June that he applied to the Naval Academy post-high school, around 1961. In a separate instance the President told Naval Academy graduates that he had been nominated to join the Academy in 1965.
A strongly Republican-affiliated account ‘RNC Research’ contested the validity of these claims, suggesting that no records corroborating these narratives could be found. Additionally, it is alleged that media coverage of Biden over the years has generally tended to lightly handle his past inconsistencies.
This pattern was most recently illuminated by a New York Times report that emphasized Biden’s propensity for ‘folklore’ stories that lack stringent factual accuracy. This technique of shaving off ‘factual edges’ from stories was represented by some as a euphemism for straightforwardly false narratives.
Fox News commented on the New York Times’ report, teasing its use of delicate language to present Biden’s penchant for embellishment. In their October 2022 piece, they point out that the Times was finally addressing a long-standing perception of Biden’s liberal approach towards the truth.
The New York Times piece went on to catalogue a series of false statements attributed to Biden. Among these were a claim of being ‘raised in the Puerto Rican community at home’, numerous inaccuracies about his academic record, and discrepancies about his personal history.
Additional instances of fabricated truths included a supposed arrest during civil rights protests, an alleged detention in South Africa, wrongly detailing the act of pinning a Silver Star on a Navy captain, and inconsistencies regarding his Amtrak riding habits, specifically when he used to visit his ill mother.
Furthermore, the report shed light on some of the President’s more colorful tales. Among these was a story where Biden claimed to have confronted a gang leader by the name of ‘Corn Pop’ during the tumultuous 1960s.
All these events, while shedding light on the President’s colorful past, continue to spark heated debates across political and social platforms. Despite the varied opinions, such instances do shape the persona of the man leading the nation, casting long shadows on the path ahead.