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We’ve grown accustomed to Glenn Kessler’s Pinocchios — those articles that check the accuracy of a statement. Kessler is back with another “fact check,” and President Biden’s nose keeps getting bigger:
“I did not walk in the shoes of generations of students who walked these grounds. But I walked other grounds. Because I’m so damn old, I was there as well. You think I’m kidding, man. It seems like yesterday the first time I got arrested.” (President Biden, in remarks in Atlanta on voting rights, Jan. 11)
It was just a throwaway line, made to laughter, [sic] in an important presidential speech. But here’s the president, saying he once had been arrested, during a section that recalled some of the heroes of the civil rights movement. He even suggested he had been arrested more than once, as he recalled it was the “first time” he had been arrested.
It’s certainly not the first time he’s said he’s been arrested. Previously, he has said he was arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela in South Africa (Four Pinocchios false) and for trying to enter an all-female dorm room at Ohio University (Partly False, according to USA Today). He has also suggested he was arrested for wandering onto the Senate floor as a “star-struck kid,” but most times he has indicated he was just given a warning.
Under normal circumstances, this quote from a presidential speech would make people laugh at another old man making fun of his age. Unfortunately, President Biden has a habit of doing this when he goes off-script. He makes up stories to impress the audience, and then he gets a Pinocchio from the media.
Once upon a time, no one cared about a senator from Delaware doing this. Most of us reacted by saying it was up to the people of Delaware to deal with their senator. He was forced to drop his 1988 campaign over plagiarism. His other presidential campaigns never got very far.
It’s different because he is now the president. His words are heard by more people and therefore monitored with more frequency.
Maybe Kessler should change the rating from Pinocchios to Bidens. It sure looks like President Biden’s imagination goes beyond Geppetto’s beloved puppet’s lies. I don’t recall Pinocchio ever saying he was arrested in a civil rights march.