President Joe Biden has long had a habit of embellishing or misremembering — if not outright lying about — the details of the stories he likes to tell.
That is what happened Thursday when Biden apparently lied about having visited a place he’d actually never been, and the White House on Friday scrambled to correct the mistruth and clarify what the president had meant to say, the Washington Examiner reported.
What Biden meant to say, according to the White House, was that he had actually called the leader of the house of worship he had falsely claimed to have visited.
The place President Biden falsely claimed to have visited was the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — the site of a terrible anti-Semitic mass shooting in Oct. 2018 that left 11 people dead.
During a teleconference call Thursday with a group of rabbis in celebration of the upcoming Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Biden, while referencing anti-Semitic hate more generally, asserted that he had visited the synagogue to offer his condolences and support.
“I remember spending time at the — you know, going to the — you know, the Tree of Life Synagogue, speaking with the — just — it just is amazing these things are happening — happening in America,” Biden said.
The New York Post was quick to report just hours later on Thursday that, according to the executive director of the Tree of Life Synagogue, Barb Feige, Biden had never actually visited the facility, whether as a private citizen or presidential candidate or as president.
Strangely enough, and despite the uproar over the disputed claim from the president, the White House remained silent on the issue for nearly 24 hours before finally responding with a corrective clarification Friday morning.
The Post has now reported that, according to a White House official, Biden actually “was referring to a call he had with the Tree of Life rabbi in 2019,” and not an actual visit to the synagogue.
Rabbi speaks out
Indeed, the White House even went so far as to provide a quote from the individual that Biden had called, Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers, who didn’t appear to take any issue with the president’s faulty recollection of their interaction just a couple of years ago.
“President Biden kindly called me on my cell phone as I was sitting in Dulles Airport awaiting a return flight to Pittsburgh after I testified before Congress in July 2019,” the rabbi said.
“In a heartfelt way, he extended his condolences and asked how we were doing. We spoke about the challenges of antisemitism, and he made clear he would confront it with us as president,” Myers added. “The conversation meant a great deal to me, and I will always be grateful for his kind words and continued support of our community.”