Delivering remarks at a train maintenance yard in New Jersey, President Joe Biden told a story — one he has told numerous times before — that has been deemed false by CNN.
“If I can pause for a second — I apologize because some have heard this,” Biden said, drawing laughter.
“I commuted every single day, 263 miles a day, on Amtrak from the time I got elected United States senator. As matter of fact, when I was Vice President, I used to like to take the train home because my mom was very sick and dying, and I’d come home every weekend to make sure I’d take the train home. And Secret Service — and I’m not criticizing them — legitimately would rather me fly because it’s safer, because too many people can get on and off, et cetera,” the president said, according to an official White House transcript.
“And I’m getting on one Friday, and then one of the senior guys on Amtrak, Angelo Negri — I got to know all the conductors really well; they became my friends. I mean, really, my genuine friends. I have them in my home at Christmas and during the summer. And Ang walks up to me and goes, ‘Joey, baby!’ Grabs my cheek. And I thought the Secret Service was going to blow his head off. I swear to God. True story,” Biden continued.
“I said, ‘No, no, he’s a friend.’ I said, ‘What’s up, Ang?’ He said, ‘Joey, I read in the paper — I read in the paper you traveled 1,000 — 1,200,000 miles on Air Force planes’ — because they keep meticulous tabs of it. I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Big…’ — I won’t say the whole thing — ‘Big deal.’ He said, ‘You know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak, Joey?’ And I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘The boys and I figured it out at the retirement dinner.’ He says, ‘You travel 2 million…’ — I think it was 180, but — ‘2,200,000 miles,’” the president said.
“I said, ‘How did you get that answer?’ He said, ‘Well, 267 miles a day. We figured you traveled 119 days a year for 36 years, and then you traveled as Vice President.’ And then he goes, ‘So, Joey, I don’t hear this about the Air Force anymore,’” Biden added.
There was one big problem: Negri retired from Amtrak in 1993, which means he didn’t work there when Biden was vice president from 2009 to 2017. He died in May 2014.
And CNN previously said there is another problem with the tale: “Biden at least hinted that the encounter with Negri occurred when he was commuting to Delaware because his mother was dying. But Biden’s mother, Catherine Eugenia ‘Jean’ Finnegan Biden, died in early 2010, more than five years before her son hit the million-miles-flown mark.”
And the network said in June that “Biden’s account simply does not add up. Biden did not reach the million-miles-flown mark as vice president until September 2015, according to his own past comments.”