US President Joe Biden has revived a decade-old claim that he was shot at during an overseas trip. Speaking to employees of the State Department, the 78-year-old lauded them for "personal courage" and said:
"I’ve been with some of you when we’ve been shot at. I’ve been with some of you when we’ve been in places that you would not have any idea you’d want to be when you were going to school. They never told you that that is going to happen."
The Democrat did not elaborate on when and how he was shot at, but it appears he was referring to the statement he made in 2007, which caused a lot of controversy. Back then he said he was shot at three times in the Green Zone, an area established during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. When asked to elaborate in detail, the politician gave an evasive description, saying there were instances when he was shot at or felt that he was being shot at. Only one of the instances, Biden said, involved a shot landing outside the building where the politician was staying.
"No one got up and ran from the room—it wasn’t that kind of thing.…It’s not like I had someone holding a gun to my head", he told reporters before saying that the more accurate description would be "I was near where a shot landed".
The politician’s explanation later caused indignation among servicemen and veterans. Back then Patrick Campbell, legislative director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, warned that the Democrat should be careful with such statements.
"Veterans don’t like it when people mischaracterise their service, people who overstate what happens to them. We have names for them", Campbell said.
'I’ve done some dumb things'
This is not the first time that Biden has stated something which has later turned out to be untrue. During his first presidential campaign in 1988, he was accused of plagiarism: the Democrat copied the speech of British politician Neil Kinnock, who served as a UK MP and Leader of the Opposition between 1970 and 1995. During that time, Biden, a law school graduate, left colleagues and voters bewildered when he claimed to be a coal miner, apparently mixing himself up with Kinnock’s father in Wales who worked down in the mines. He reiterated this claim when he became vice president of the United States in 2008.
"I’m a hard coal miner”, the Democrat told members of the United Mine Workers. Biden’s spokesman later said that he was joking.
During his first presidential campaign, he falsely claimed that he marched in the civil rights movement.
Several days before quit the race the Democrat said:
"I’ve done some dumb things. And I’ll do dumb things again."