President Biden on Monday repeated — for the fifth time this year — a made up story to illustrate his closeness to Amtrak and a former conductor named Angelo Negri.
Biden told the tale — declared “false” by CNN — during a speech at the NJ Transit maintenance facility in Kearny, NJ, as he touted the $1.2 trillion Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill that would boost funding for Amtrak.
“I apologize because some of you have heard this,” Biden said as he told the reliable laugh line.
“When I was vice president I used to like to take the train home because my mom was very sick and dying. And I’d come home every weekend,” said Biden, whose mother died in 2010.
“I’m getting on one Friday and then one of the senior guys on Amtrak, Angelo Negri … walks up to me and he goes, ‘Joey baby!’ He grabs my cheek. And I thought the Secret Service was gonna blow his head off. I swear to God, true story.”
Biden continued: “I said, ‘What’s up, Ang?’ He said, ‘Joey. I read in a paper. I read in the paper, you traveled 1,000 — 1,200,000 miles on Air Force planes.’ Because they keep meticulous tabs of it.”
Biden said that Negri had done the math and said, “You know how many miles you travel on Amtrak, Joey? … 2,200,000 miles… So Joey, I don’t want to hear this about the Air Force anymore.”
Negri retired from Amtrak in 1993, meaning he didn’t work there when Biden was vice president from 2009 to 2017. He died in May 2014.
Biden usually says the story happened in his final year as vice president, but he didn’t include that detail Monday. His mention of his mother’s death suggests it may have happened earlier.
But there’s an additional factual issue: CNN reported in June that “Biden’s account simply does not add up. Biden did not reach the million-miles-flown mark as vice president until September 2015, according to his own past comments.”
It’s unclear if Biden confused mileage details, dates or the name of the Amtrak employee. The frequent retelling of the story comes as Biden’s critics accuse him of being in mental decline ahead of his 79th birthday next month.
The White House did not respond to The Post’s request for clarification.
Biden most recently told the story on Wednesday in Scranton, Pa., where he also campaigned for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a larger proposed social spending package. In that telling, he said “I guess it was seven years into — to my tenure as vice president.”
Biden previously told the story in September during an Oval Office meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in June during an infrastructure speech in Wisconsin and in April at a train station in Philadelphia.