President Biden on Wednesday told a false story — for the fourth time since taking office — about an Amtrak conductor named Angelo Negri who supposedly boasted about his train ridership during his final year as vice president.
Negri retired from Amtrak in 1993 and died in May 2014, CNN reported in June — making it impossible for Negri to have spoken with Biden during his final year as VP, which would have been in 2016 or the first month of 2017.
The president retold the tale, which he called “a true story,” in Scranton, Pa., to underscore his commitment to the passenger rail service, which would gain additional funding in the Senate-passed $1.2 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Biden attempted an Italian American accent to mimic Negri saying, “Joey, baby!” as a prelude to arguing that the then-vice president had traveled more miles on Amtrak than on Air Force flights.
“I guess it was seven years into — to my tenure as vice president,” Biden said Wednesday.
“Angelo Negri was from — you remember Ang? Ang came up to me one day when I was — when they just had announced that I had flown 1 million-some — X-number of miles on Air Force aircraft. And Ang comes up, and I’m getting into the car, and he goes, ‘Joey, baby. What do you…’ And I thought the Secret Service was going to shoot him,” Biden said.
“I said, ‘No, no, no, no. He’s good. He’s good.’ It’s a true story.”
Biden continued, “And he said, ‘I just read — big deal. Big deal…’ — whatever it was — ‘…1,200,000 miles Air Force. You know how many miles you did Amtrak?’ And I said, ‘No, Ang. I don’t have any idea, pal.’”
Negri purportedly told Biden, “Boom, boom. You have traveled over 2 million miles, Joe. I don’t want to hear any more about the Air Force.”
Biden previously told the story in September during an Oval Office meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in June during an infrastructure speech in Wisconsin and in April at a train station in Philadelphia.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other presidents have repeatedly presented questionable stories. For example, former President Donald Trump routinely spoke about being named “Man of the Year” in Michigan, despite no record of him receiving such an award.
But Biden’s misremembering comes as his critics accuse him of being in mental decline.
The president, who turns 79 next month, earlier this week turned heads by speaking about his involvement in the civil rights movement before running for the Senate in 1972 — despite previously saying he wasn’t involved as an activist.
“I had gotten involved in the civil rights movement,” Biden said at a “teacher of the year” event Monday on the White House lawn.
But in 1987, Biden admitted that his involvement in that movement amounted to working at a primarily black swimming pool.
“During the ’60s I was, in fact, very concerned about the civil rights movement. I was not an activist. I worked at an all-black swimming pool in the east side of Wilmington, Delaware. I was involved. I was involved in what they were thinking, what they were feeling. I was involved, but I was not out marching. I was not down in Selma, I was not anywhere else,” Biden said at the time.
Biden has struggled with more recent accounts, too. Last month, he falsely claimed that he remembered “spending time at” and “going to” the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the October 2018 mass murder of 11 people. After the synagogue said he did not visit, the White House said he misspoke and was referring to a 2019 phone call with the congregation’s rabbi.