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President Joe Biden told State Department employees that he was “shot at” overseas. Biden has made this claim in the past, but had to walk back the story after it was revealed that it wasn’t necessarily the case.
“You have great personal courage. I’ve been with some of you when we’ve been shot at,” Biden told a group of diplomatic aides in Washington on Thursday.
During a 2007 Democratic presidential debate, then-Sen. Biden alleged that he was “shot at” inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone.
“Let’s start telling the truth. Number one, you take all the troops out — you better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone, where I have been seven times and shot at,” Biden said during the debate, according to Fox News. “You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die, number one.”
Biden’s aides attempted to clarify the politician’s alleged harrowing experience by naming three instances where he was near danger. Aides claimed that there was a mortar attack inside the Green Zone in 2005 while Biden and another senator were shaving, the New York Post reported. The blast purportedly rattled the building.
During the same trip to Iraq, the helicopter he was flying in was supposedly shot at when traveling to the Baghdad airport. There was an alleged incident in 2004 when a C-130 cargo airplane Biden was flying in engaged its anti-missile system over Iraq, possibly indicating it had been fired upon.
Biden ended up walking back the story.
“I was near where a shot landed,” he said of his 2005 experience in the Green Zone.
“No one got up and ran from the room — it wasn’t that kind of thing,” Biden later clarified. “It’s not like I had someone holding a gun to my head.”
Patrick Campbell, legislative director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the Hill in 2017 that Biden should be careful on how he describes his experiences in combat zones.
“Veterans don’t like it when people mischaracterize their service, people who overstate what happens to them,” Campbell explained. “We have names for them.”
Campbell said the verbiage “shot at” implies that “someone with an AK-47 pops up and is taking shots at you.”
Biden has been caught exaggerating and making unsubstantiated claims in the past.
Biden has alleged that he marched in civil rights marches as a student in the 1960s. A Washington Post fact check asserted that Biden overstated his civil rights activism and gave him “two Pinocchios” for his statements.
In 2008, Biden told members of the United Mine Workers, “I am a hard coal miner.” A Biden spokesperson said he was not a coal miner and was only joking.
In Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign, it was revealed that he plagiarized Neil Kinnock, the leader of the British Labor Party.