During a visit with veterans in Delaware on Friday, President Joe Biden claimed that his father had asked him to give a Purple Heart to his uncle Frank Biden while he was vice president. The only problem with that story was the fact that both men had died several years before Biden became VP.
The president’s father, Joseph R. Biden Sr., passed away in September 2002 — more than six years before Biden took office as vice president. Frank Biden, Joe Sr.’s brother, died in 1999.
“My dad, when I got elected vice president, he said, ‘Joey, Uncle Frank fought in the Battle of the Bulge.’ He was not feeling very well now — not because of the Battle of the Bulge, but he said, ‘and he won the Purple Heart and he never received it. He never got it. Do you think you could help him get it? We will surprise him,’” Biden claimed.
“So I got him the Purple Heart. He had won it in the Battle of the Bulge. And I remember he came over the house and I came out and [my father] said, ‘Present it to him, okay?’ We had the family there,” he continued.
“I said, ‘Uncle Frank, you’ve won this and I wanted to —’ and he said, ‘I don’t want the damn thing.’ No, I’m serious, he said, ‘I don’t want it.’ I said, ‘What’s the matter, Uncle Frank? You earned it.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but the others died. The others died. I lived. I don’t want it,’” Biden added.
Joe Biden says after he was elected VP, he awarded his Uncle Frank with a Purple Heart he earned at the Battle of the Bulge.
There is no evidence any of that is true — and Biden's uncle died in 1999, while Biden wasn't elected VP until 2008. pic.twitter.com/FlJLjFAE4A
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 17, 2022
Neither Frank Biden’s obituary nor his tombstone identify him as a Purple Heart honoree. The New York Post also reported that a search of the registry of known Purple Heart recipients does not include anyone by that name receiving the award, though the outlet notes that the database is not comprehensive.
The president apparently told the story as part of an attempt to make a point about the humility of veterans. He also tried to make that point with another false story — one that he has told several times in the past.
In this story, which also took place while Biden was vice president, he said that he was in Iraq and was asked to pin a Silver Star on a service member for rescuing a comrade who had fallen 150 feet.
“This young man climbed down the hill, put a guy on his shoulder, and brought him back up and was shot at on the way up,” the president explained. “And he got there and I went to present it to him, too.”
Biden continued telling the story by noting that the soldier had told him that he did not want the medal because his friend had died.
While this story is not entirely false, the president got almost every fact wrong.
This event actually took place in Afghanistan, not Iraq — and the medal that Biden presented to the soldier was a Bronze Star, not a Silver Star. The service member was receiving the award for the heroic act of going into a burning vehicle to rescue one of his friends, not for repelling down into a ravine to carry his friend 150 feet up a hill under gunfire.
Biden has told this story before. In fact, throughout the 2020 presidential primaries, he told several different versions of the story. His false comments got so egregious that even the left-wing Washington Post was forced to fact-check Biden, writing that he appeared to have “jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion, and regret that never happened.”
"It appeared as though Biden had jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story that never happened." https://t.co/qlMenPlh58
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 16, 2022
“In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch, and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony,” the Washington Post reported at the time.
The only true part of Biden’s story was that, as vice president, he awarded a Bronze Star to Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Workman at Forward Operating Base Airborne in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, on Jan. 11, 2011.