Former Vice President Joe Biden is defending the war story he told on the campaign trail that conflated details from different heroic events and got key details wrong.
Biden called the individual details of the story he told ‘irrelevant’ when stacked up against the issue of presidential ‘judgement,’ amid new scrutiny of his reputation for gaffes on the campaign trail.
‘That has nothing to do with judgment of whether or not you send troops to war, the judgment of whether you bring someone home, the judgment of whether you decide on a healthcare policy,’ said Biden, who has been building a campaign message around his ability to beat President Donald Trump.
‘The details are irrelevant in terms of decision-making,’ Biden told NPR in an interview from Iowa, where he is working to maintain his poll lead.
As he brushed off the details, Biden tried to keep the focus on Trump.
‘I’ve never seen the party as certain of the need to defeat the incumbent president,’ he said.
His push came after Biden earlier defended the heartfelt war story he told a New Hampshire crowd last month as having gotten its ‘essence’ correct after an analysis showed it was nearly entirely fabricated, or a combination of unrelated memories.
He brushed aside a Washington Post report showing he got numerous details wrong when he talked about awarding a Navy war hero the Silver Star.
‘The assertion I made was there was a young man that I attempted to pin a medal on at the request of the commander and he said ‘I don’t want it. He died. He died.’ It turns out that’s true. The young man did say that,’ Biden told The Washington Post of his tale of awarding a medal to a soldier who told Biden he didn’t want it because the colleague he was trying to save died.
‘They went back, I’m told – I didn’t see the story – but, yeah, it’s exactly true. That’s what I was talking about. There was a separate incident that occurred in a different time and a different circumstance. But what I was talking about was a young man. I mean, what is the gaffe when I said there is a young man I tried to pin a medal on and he said ‘I don’t want it sir. He died. He died. He died,” Biden said.
‘I was making the point how courageous these people are. How incredible they are. These generation of warriors, these fallen angels we’ve lost. I don’t know what the problem is. What is it that I said wrong?,’ he added.
A series of Biden gaffes on the campaign trail have raised questions about his ability to take on Trump in what is likely to be a brutal contest, as his team works to counter questions about his age or mental capacity.