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On Friday, President Biden once again exaggerated the number of times he has visited the Middle East, as he delivered a commencement address to graduates of the US Naval Academy in Maryland.
“I’ve been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan more than 40 times, I think, 38 times,” the president said.
However, this figure was incorrect. A spokesperson for Biden’s National Security Council (NSC) said Friday that the exact number of Biden’s visits to Iraq and Afghanistan was 21.
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Biden made Friday’s comment in the context of congratulating Naval Academy graduates for being “members of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.” The president said that, based on his visits to the Middle East and his family’s military service, he had first-hand knowledge of the quality of the US armed forces.
“I saw you in action, it’s the best army, no joke, we have the best army in the history of the world,” Biden said.
Friday’s statement was not the first time Biden has made a false claim about how often he travels to the Middle East. During his bid for president, Biden said at least once that he had traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan “more than 30 times”, according to the Washington Post.
As a presidential candidate, Biden also told at least one “moving but false” war story, according to the Washington Post, which conflated multiple events to create a narrative that “never happened.”
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Friday’s clarification by the NSC is also just the latest in several recent comments by the president that his team needed to backtrack.
More recently, the White House was forced to scrub a comment from Biden that indicated the United States could militarily defend Taiwan if attacked by China.
Earlier this year, Biden blundered that the United States may not have an answer to a “minor incursion” by Russia into Ukraine, which his staff pushed back. And in Warsaw, Poland, this year, Biden said, “this man can’t stay in power,” referring to Putin. The White House was quick to clarify that Biden was not calling for regime change in Russia.
Also during his address to Naval Academy graduates, Biden touted his approach to US foreign policy, including his focus on alliances. He also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine is backfiring on Ukraine as the alliances of Western nations grow stronger.
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“Putin’s actions were an attempt, to use my phrase, to Finnishize all of Europe, to make it completely neutral,” Biden said, using a term that refers to Finland’s Cold War neutrality. . “Instead, he NATOized all of Europe.”
“Putin’s brutal and brutal war in Ukraine, not only is he trying to take control of Ukraine, but he is really trying to erase the culture and the identity of the Ukrainian people,” Biden also said, raising his voice. indignantly. “Attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums with no other aim than to eliminate a culture, a direct attack on the fundamental principles of the rules-based international order. That’s what you graduated to.”
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