It would almost be funny if it weren’t so serious.
President Joe Biden is a notorious liar. America knew this when it elected him; indeed, it derailed his first presidential campaign back in 1988, when he was found to have lied about his academic achievements and plagiarized a speech without giving proper attribution.
In the intervening years, particularly in the past decade, Biden has also become notoriously senescent. He sometimes forgets where he is, what he’s supposed to do and even the names of those around him. (This includes his last formal boss, a certain Barack Obama; you may have heard of him.)
Put the two together and you have schadenfreude comedy gold. Until, of course, you realize that this is the nominal leader of the free world.
On Monday, in a speech to firefighters in Philadelphia, Biden talked about the cranial aneurysm he had in early 1988, after he’d left the presidential race.
In the space of just a few seconds, he a) forgot the name of the helicopter he flies on regularly and b) made a wild, unsubstantiated claim about then-President Ronald Reagan’s role in the affair.
“President Reagan was nice enough to send Air Force Helicopter One to take me down, but it couldn’t fly,” Biden said.
“And so my fire department, my fire department came up, put me in the back and took me on heavy snow on the day I went down to Walter Reed.”
So, first off: The president’s helicopter gets the designation Marine One, not “Air Force Helicopter One” — no matter what helicopter he’s traveling in.
If you’ve turned on any news channel for a significant length of time — yes, even MSNBC — you’ll likely have absorbed that fact. The guy who’s flying it on a near-daily basis? Eh, not so much.
Moreover, as the Republican National Committee’s RNC Research social media account and other outlets pointed out, this story — like so many other anecdotes in the Biden oeuvre — has no basis in fact.
Biden claims Ronald Reagan sent “Air Force Helicopter One” to take him to the hospital when he had a brain aneurysm in the 1980s.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 11, 2023
“Press reports indicate that then-Sen. Biden was admitted to Walter Reed on Feb. 12, 1988 — and Reagan’s daily diary, which includes a detailed account of his meetings and phone calls, shows no discussions about sending the chopper to assist the Democrat,” the New York Post reported.
“In fact, Reagan himself was unable to use Marine One on the morning of Feb. 12 due to poor weather, according to a handwritten annotation, forcing him to take a motorcade to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to board Air Force One for a flight to Los Angeles.”
Furthermore, excerpts from Biden’s 2007 autobiography don’t include this at all. Instead, “Promises to Keep” tells a different, but no less harrowing, version of the story in which his brother James determined he would get better care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center — but the then-senator was in Wilmington, Delaware, in the midst of a snowstorm.
“My brother Jim began making calls all over the world to find neurosurgeons who had experience with this operation and could be available fast. My best chance, Jim discovered, was to get to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, outside Washington, D.C.,” Biden wrote, adding that the surgeon was “one of the most experienced and accomplished practitioners of the relatively new procedure required to save me.”
However, there was a problem: “Weather conditions made a medevac helicopter flight too dangerous,” Biden claimed.
“I had no idea what time it was, but I found myself on a gurney, my test results strapped to my chest, being wheeled out the doors of Saint Francis [hospital in Wilmington, Delaware] toward a waiting ambulance.”
He was then driven through the snow with an escort by Delaware and then Maryland state police cars.
“The medical personnel did not seem easy with the situation. If the aneurysm burst, there wasn’t a thing they could do for me out on the open road,” Biden said in the memoir.
“We rode on for about half an hour … as the ambulance driver picked his way through the snowstorm until suddenly we noticed we weren’t moving anymore. The snow was coming down harder, and we weren’t going anywhere.”
“‘Why are we stopped?’ Jill kept saying. ‘Why are we stopped?’ Finally she started banging on the partition that separated us from the driver’s cab,” he continued.
“‘The Maryland State Police aren’t sure where to go,’ came the answer. ‘Move!’ Jill yelled. ‘We can’t.’ ‘Dammit,’ she said, “move this ambulance!’ The next thing I knew, we were moving again.”
True? Again, who knows? This is a man who’s repeated a debunked story about an Amtrak conductor at least 13 times and shows no signs of stopping at that unlucky number. What is clear is that he didn’t forget Reagan in the 2007 memoir, since he noted the then-president “even sent his own doctor to check on me.”
“When I got back home, Jill and the staff made the decision to keep me completely isolated,” Biden said. “There would be no work, no phone calls, no nothing. President Reagan had called twice. Jill was grateful to the president, but she made no exceptions to her rule.”
So he forgot to mention that Reagan tried to lend him Marine One, or whatever you call that whirly-bird presidential doohicky thingabob, but he did remember to include Reagan in the next chapter. Right.
What we do know is that Biden’s people “did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on whether evidence exists to support Biden’s most recent version of the story.”
I wouldn’t be vigilantly waiting by the phone, New York Post folks. Heaven knows the White House has enough problems with keeping the president’s stories straight without trying to mitigate the damage when people start questioning them.
Remember, however, that this is a guy the Democrats think can hold up for another four years in the White House.
Ronald Reagan might do a better job at this point.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.