Biden’s animated ‘Joey, Baby’ cheek-grabbing Amtrak story doesn’t add up

President Joe Biden celebrated Amtrak’s 50th anniversary with a speech at an event in Philadelphia where he fondly recalled his more than 1.5 million miles riding the train over the years, but the details of his story are seemingly full of inconsistencies.

“When I became Vice President, one of the Capitol Hill newspapers estimated that I had taken more than 7,000 round trips on Amtrak over my career. I think that’s an exaggeration. And I’m going to rely on — there’s two conductors that Mr. Weaver will remember. One of them was a guy named Angelo Negri,” Biden stated last Friday while speaking publicly during an event honoring Amtrak’s 50th anniversary. He has long supported the railway and its workers.

“There was an article, I guess my fourth or fifth year as vice president, saying Biden travels 1,300,000 miles on Air Force One [Two]. I used to – the Secret Service didn’t like it – but I used to like to take the train home. My mom was sick and I used to try to come home almost every weekend as vice president to see her. I got on the train and Angelo Negri came up and he goes, ‘Joey, baby,’ and he grabbed my cheek like he always did. I thought he was going to get shot. I’m serious. I said, ‘No, no, he’s a friend,'” Biden explained.

“He said, ‘Joey, what’s the big deal? 1,300,000 miles on Air Force Two? Do you know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak?’ I said, ‘No, Angie, I don’t know.’ He gave me the calculation and he said you traveled 1,500,000 miles on Amtrak. The fact is, I’d probably take Angie’s word before I’d take the word of what the article said,” the president remarked.

(Video Credit: CNBC Television)

“But the point is: In the process, as Conductor Weaver will tell you, Amtrak became my family. I literally — literally, every single day that I was in the United States Senate, got the — either the 7:28 — it became the 7:32, and — or — and got home on — if I got lucky, I got the — I got the Metro that left — the last one left at 6:00, or I got the 7:30 coming home,” Biden recalled.

“And you get to know everybody. You get to know the folks. And I used to have a Christmas party for Amtrak employees at my home, and it got so big we ended up having a summer party because family and retirees kept coming back,” the president reminisced.

While most of the fawning media is not addressing the alleged facts given by Biden during his remarks, a number of the dates and recollections seem to be incorrect. Negri’s obituary notes that he retired in 1993. Biden was a senator at the time. He entered the fourth year of his vice presidency in 2013, 20 years after the conductor retired. Biden’s mother, whom he also spoke about in his speech, passed away in 2010.

Also of note is that Biden’s office proudly celebrated his milestone of traveling 1 million miles on Air Force Two in 2015.

“A few months ago, Vice President Joe Biden crossed the million-mile mark aboard Air Force Two – the official plane of the Vice President. … I wanted to give you a sense of what those more-than 1 million miles have looked like these past seven years,” Biden’s vice presidential photographer David Lienemann noted in a blog post that was written in February 2016.

Biden’s colorful stories are frequently questioned for accuracy and he is notoriously gaffe-prone. This is one more occurrence in a long line of incidents that are seemingly full of statements and facts that just don’t add up.

Twitter commenters ridiculed the speech:


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