Biden Loves to Tell Tall Tales. We Cut Them Down to Size.

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According to the agency of the Pentagon that accounts for the missing or those taken prisoner during war, Mr. Finnegan, a second lieutenant, was a passenger on an aircraft that crashed into the ocean on the north coast of New Guinea in May 1944 after its engines failed. Three men, including Mr. Biden’s uncle, were lost in the crash while a fourth was rescued by a passing barge. There are no indications that the plane was shot down or that Mr. Finnegan was flying the plane.

Mr. Finnegan would have been an unlikely victim of cannibalism in New Guinea, anthropologists and locals told PolitiFact and The Guardian. Studies of cannibalism in the country have noted that victims tended to be enemies from warring tribes as an act of revenge or deceased relatives as part of a mourning ritual.

Mr. Biden shared his account of Mr. Finnegan’s death after visiting a war memorial in Scranton, Pa., that bore his uncle’s name. The story was meant to highlight Mr. Biden’s commitment to equipping troops and honoring veterans, the White House said.

What WAS Said

“I was getting on the train, and one of the senior guys at Amtrak — I became friends with all of them after all the years, and I’ve ridden 36 years as a senator — and he comes up to me — his name is Angelo — and he comes over and says, ‘Joey, baby!’ He grabs my cheek, and I thought they were going to shoot him. And I said, ‘Ang, what’s the matter?’ He said, ‘I just read in the newspaper’ — because they keep meticulous mileage about how many times you — how many miles you use an aircraft for the United States Air Force as vice president. ‘I just read in the paper, Joey, you traveled 1,200,000 miles on Air Force Two.’”
— in a speech in Nevada in December

This story, as told, stretches credulity. Mr. Biden logged 1.2 million miles on Air Force Two in early 2016, according to himself. Angelo Negri, the conductor, retired from Amtrak in 1993 and died in 2014. It is possible that Mr. Biden mistook another conductor for Mr. Negri: He recounted in 2009 speaking with an unnamed Amtrak employee, who also called out to him, “Joey, baby.”



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