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Unfit For Office? Biden Trots Out Debunked Story Twice In Same Day

By CM Chaney · November 7, 2023

In brief…

  • President Biden told same debunked story about Amtrak conductor twice in one day
  • Story involves conductor pinching Biden's cheeks and comparing train vs. Air Force Two miles
  • CNN previously fact-checked claim and found inconsistencies proving it did not happen
  • This marks at least 12th time Biden has repeated narrative deemed false by fact checkers
  • Comes as polls show majority believes Biden, 80, cannot govern effectively due to age
President Biden repeatedly told a debunked anecdote about an Amtrak conductor despite fact checks proving inconsistencies in the story.  David Lienemann / Wikimedia

President Joe Biden told a story twice on Monday that has previously been deemed false by fact-checkers.

The anecdote involves an Amtrak conductor named Angelo Negri who supposedly pinched Biden’s cheeks and boasted about how many more miles the then-senator logged on trains compared to flights as vice president.

Speaking at a Bidenomics event in Delaware, Biden recounted the exchange to a group of Amtrak workers ahead of his speech. He then repeated the story word-for-word during remarks meant to promote the administration’s new $16.4 billion investment in East Coast passenger rail projects.

As the New York Post reported, this marks at least the 12th time Biden has shared the debunked narrative. CNN fact-checked the president’s claim in 2021 and found multiple inconsistencies, showing the story could not have happened as described.

In the anecdote, Biden says he was traveling home “when I was vice president” to visit his ill mother before Negri approached him saying, “Joey, Baby!” and pinching his cheeks.

“When I was vice president, I flew over a million miles on Air Force Two, but I traveled further than that on Amtrak over the years,” Biden said during the speech. “I was coming home to see my mom, and I just — she was living at this time, my dad had passed away. And I got on the train on a Friday, and I won’t get him [the Amtrak conductor] into complete trouble, I’ll just tell you his first name, but I’ll just tell you his first name. He was No. 2 in seniority at the time, Angelo.”

“And Ang came up to me as I was walking in, and he said, ‘Joey!’ and he grabbed my cheek, and he said, ‘Joey, Baby!’” Biden continued. “They had just published in the newspaper that I had traveled 1,200,000 miles on Air Force planes as vice president, they published that on a regular basis. He said ‘Big,’ I won’t quote him exactly, but he said, ‘Big deal, Joey!’”

“And I said, ‘What’s it mean, Ang?’ And he said … you know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘A million … [and] 320,000 miles.’ And I said, ‘How do you figure that?’ And he said, ‘Well, 180 days a year, almost 300 miles a day, 36 years,’” Biden said during his speech.

The conductor then compared Biden’s over 1 million miles logged on Air Force Two to the 1.32 million miles he calculated Biden traveled on Amtrak over 36 years.

However, CNN revealed Negri passed away in May 2009, before Biden reached 1 million miles as vice president. They also noted Biden’s mother died in 2010, five years prior to him hitting the air mileage mark.

The repeated false story comes amid growing concerns over the 80-year-old president’s age.

A recent AP/NORC poll found 77% of Americans think Biden cannot govern effectively at his age. Of that group, 85% said they do not want him to seek reelection in 2024.