President Joe Biden appears to have embellished the truth about his supposedly hardscrabble family history during a speech promoting the “American Jobs Plan” at a Ford factory on Tuesday.
In one of the speech’s side comments, which came shortly before he jokingly threatened to run over a reporter for asking him a question about the Israel-Gaza conflict, Biden claimed that his “great-grandpop” was a coal miner. But he appears to have debunked that notion himself 17 years ago.
The official White House transcript records the disjointed remark:
My dad used to say, “Joey…” — and I swear to God, when he left Scranton, when the coal died — my dad was not a — he was — he was a salesperson; he wasn’t a coal miner. My great-grandpop was, but —
He — he said — he used to say — when he moved to Delaware — he had to leave because there were no jobs and he left us with our grandpop for a little over a year.
Yet Biden appeared to say that none of his family members have ever worked in the coal mines during a 2004 appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
“Hell, I might be president now if it weren’t for the fact I said I had an uncle who was a coal miner. Turns out I didn’t have anybody in the coal mines,” Biden told then-host Jon Stewart.
“I’m from Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Biden continued. “I figured there had to be a coal miner somewhere in the family.”
Stewart asked, “Nothing, huh?”
“Nothing!” Biden replied.
It’s not altogether clear if Biden’s comments applied to all of his relatives or merely that specific uncle, who was an engineer and “graduated from Lehigh.”
Yet 24 hours after the president’s potentially self-refuting comments, no major media outlet has fact-checked Biden’s remarks.
That’s a major contrast with the way the nation’s most prestigious outlets treated assertions about the grandfather of Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
After it had been announced that Republicans had chosen Sen. Scott to give a rebuttal to President Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress last month, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler published a fact check on the life story of Scott’s grandfather, a cotton farmer in the segregated South.
Scott has long cited his family history of “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime” as proof that the American dream is alive and well.
On April 23, Kessler published an article titled “Tim Scott often talks about his grandfather and cotton. There’s more to that tale.”
After 1,800 words, Kessler did not apply his usual Pinocchio scale. Instead, he concluded that, while Scott’s story is “missing some nuance,” the senator “may be relying on the memories of his grandfather.”
Kessler later admitted that the public records Kessler relied on to portray Scott’s grandfather as prosperous “may not entirely show what life was like for black farmers in South Carolina as cotton prices plunged.”
Even after the backlash, Kessler defended his fact check on NPR (at your expense) earlier this month.
“His story on the campaign trail was a bit too tidy for popular consumption,” Kessler said.
The Washington Post columnist added that he “did not have an inkling” that Sen. Scott would be upset by his attempt to discredit his family history on the eve of his most publicized speech to date.
“We often look at origin stories, because it sheds a light on the politician,” said Kessler. “We investigate the backgrounds of white politicians all the time.”
We’ll believe that when Kessler explores whether Biden’s memories of his great-grandpop are as accurate as his stories about Cornpop.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.