Former Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that he “wasn’t trying to mislead anybody” in telling a war story that was later found to be largely inaccurate.
“[Details] matter in terms of whether you’re trying to mislead people. And I wasn’t trying to mislead anybody,” Biden told reporters at a Labor Day picnic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to CNN. “My point is, I was there. The fact is, the point I was trying to make, I’d make again.”
“The valor and honor of these warriors are as significant as any warriors we’ve ever had in the history of the United States of America,” he continued. “That was my point.”
The story, as Biden has told it, involves him visiting the Kunar province in Afghanistan as vice president, and focuses on the heroism of what he said was “a young Navy captain.” During a town hall event on Friday, Biden said a general had wanted him to pin a Silver Star on a Navy captain who rappelled 60 feet under fire to retrieve the body of a U.S. serviceman.
But the Post later found that based on interviews with more than a dozen troops, commanders and Biden campaign officials, “it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.”
Biden later denied conflating several different events, telling The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C. that “the story was that he refused the medal because the fella he tried to save — and risked his life saving — died. That’s the beginning, middle and end. The rest of you guys can take it and do what you want with it.”
The war story, among others, has led to heightened scrutiny of the Democratic presidential candidate in recent weeks following a series of gaffes on the campaign trail.