By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
I really, really don’t like being lied to. I don’t like it when it affects the people I love, and when it’s a group of people to whom I owe my life and the freedom to publish this newspaper, I get especially hacked. In two other All Things Soldier articles, I talked about a woman who pretended to have served in Afghanistan, pretended to be a wounded warrior, pretended to have been sexually assaulted by a senior officer, and who had swindled the military out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits. I wrote a second article when she was caught, convicted, and sentenced. Sadly, history is replete with people who have done this. Most of the time it is men who do it, and in days gone by, before our lives were discoverable through a few well-placed keystrokes, it was easier to get away with it.
Lying about having been wounded in battle is one thing. Lying about having served at all is another, and lying about being accepted to a prestigious military academy is just weird. However, this usually happens with “regular Joes” who, for one reason or another need to tell tales to impress others, and as of 2005 and 2013, it became a crime as a result of the Stolen Valor Act. Now, technically the lie to which I am referring had to do with having been accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and declining the appointment, not having served in the Navy in the first place. However, what makes this “tall tale” so egregious is who told it, where, and to whom.
It was told by none other than the CNC, better known as the Commander in Chief to graduates of the US Naval Academy at their graduation ceremony. Here is what Joe Biden said to the 2022 graduating class:
“I was told the class of ’72 is here. I was appointed to the academy in 1965 by a senator who I was running against in 1972 — never planned it that way. I wasn’t old enough to be sworn in. I was only 29 years old when I was running,” Biden said. The president added later that “I didn’t come to the academy because I wanted to be a football star. And you had a guy named [Roger] Staubach and [Joe] Bellino here. So, I went to Delaware.”
None of this is true, except the fact that football greats Roger Staubach and Joe Bellino were graduates. There is no record of Joe Biden ever having been accepted to the Academy. There is no record of any senator having been involved in trying to get the young-but-post-grad Joe into Annapolis. It gets worse. Joe graduated from the University of Delaware and went to law school at the University of Syracuse. The Naval Academy is strictly an undergrad school. It does not offer any advanced degrees, either Master’s or Ph.Ds. Joe Biden got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in 1965, and his law degree from Syracuse in 1968.
Even the White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, had trouble with it. She obfuscated by saying that “she did not hear that part of the speech.” Upon being further pressed upon by a reporter for clarification, she actually said, “I hear you. I need to read it myself and just go back and see what you’re talking about, exactly. I can’t speak to it right now.”
Another speech given at Annapolis and delivered in 2010 is ludicrous, especially as it pertains to football.
“In 1960, I was a pretty good football player at the University of Delaware, and I was one of the guys that applied to come to this great academy,” Biden said 12 years ago. “And a fellow named J. Caleb Boggs considered me, and I thought I was going to be a pretty good ballplayer. And then I found out you had two guys in the backfield back in those days, Admiral, and I realized I wasn’t going to get a chance to play at all. You had a guy named Staubach, and a guy named Bellino, so I went to the University of Delaware.”
Newsflash: Bellino graduated from the Naval Academy and was drafted into the NFL in 1961. There is no way on the face of God’s green earth that Bellino could have kept Biden out of the Naval Academy, even if he had wanted to. Joe Bellino was born in 1938, and Joe Biden was born in 1942.
Can you imagine if any other United States president had done this once, let alone twice? Why is there nothing but crickets for us to hear on the matter? Oh, I don’t know, maybe it’s somehow okay to expect young Navy lieutenants to obey not the Commander in Chief, but the Conundrum in Chief. In any case, it’s above my pay grade.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner