The debunked Amtrak story that Joe Biden told in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Wednesday was the fifth time in the last year – and fourth since entering the White House – that the president repeated the tale.
Biden made similar remarks on these occasions.
October 12, 2020
Then-candidate Joe Biden spoke to a small group at Cincinnati’s Museum Center at Union Terminal on October 12, 2020
During an appearance on the campaign trail in Cincinnati, Ohio, then-candidate Joe Biden repeated the story about his friend, Amtrak conductor Angelo Negri.
‘And so I started commuting every day back and forth, and that’s how I got involved as sort of Mr. Amtrak,’ Biden said.
‘Because when they publish that, they keep fastidious records on how many miles you travel on government aircraft when your vice president.
‘And I had traveled a little over, I think it was a 1,400,000 miles.
‘It was on the front page of the paper, but I used to like to take the train home on Fridays still as Vice President because it costs a lot of money to take that small plane back.
‘But in addition to that, the Secret Service felt much more secure if I wasn’t on a train, but they humored me and let me go home on Fridays sometimes.
‘My mom was living at my home as she was passing.
‘And I remember getting on the train and a guy named Angelo Negri, I got to know their families, all the conductors and all the people all those years.
‘And he came up to me and he grabbed me and he said, “Joey.” He grabbed my cheek.
‘I thought the Secret Service was going to shoot him. I said, “No.” I said, “He’s okay.”
‘It’s a true story.
‘And he said, “I just read, Joey, 1,400,000 miles on Air Force Two, big deal. The boys, we were checking. We had our retirement dinner. Went up to New Jersey for the dinner. You know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak?”
‘I said, “No, Ang, I don’t.”
‘He said, “Joey,” he said, “we figure 117 days a year, 36 years, and then X number of days as Vice President, you’ve traveled 2,100,000 miles on Amtrak.”
‘I think I hold the record, other than a conductor.’
April 30, 2021
Delivering an April 30 speech in Philadelphia commemorating the 50th anniversary of Amtrak, Biden launched into the tale of reaching 1.5 million miles on the service
Delivering a speech in Philadelphia commemorating the 50th anniversary of Amtrak, Biden launched into the tale of a certain conductor congratulating him on reaching the milestone as he traveled to visit his sick mother.
Biden said the incident occurred in his ‘fourth or fifth year as vice president’, or around 2014-2015, at which time the conductor he named had been retired for 20 years and had passed away, inconsistencies first pointed out by Fox News.
Biden, who served in the Senate for 36 years, famously commuted by Amtrak to Congress from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, racking up many miles on the train service.
‘When I became vice president, one of the Capitol Hill newspapers estimated that I had taken more than 7,000 round trips on Amtrak over my career,’ he explained in his speech on Friday.
‘I think that’s an exaggeration. I’m going to rely on those two conductors … one of them was a guy named Angelo Negri,’ he continued, launching into the anecdote.
‘There was an article, I guess my fourth or fifth year as vice president, saying Biden travels 1,300,000 miles on Air Force One [Two]. I used to – the Secret Service didn’t like it – but I used to like to take the train home,’ he continued.
‘My mom was sick and I used to try to come home almost every weekend as vice president to see her. I got on the train and Angelo Negri came up and he goes, ‘Joey, baby,’ and he grabbed my cheek like he always did. I thought he was going to get shot. I’m serious. I said, ‘No, no, he’s a friend,’ Biden recalled.
‘He said, “Joey, what’s the big deal? 1,300,000 miles on Air Force Two? Do you know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak?”
‘I said, “No, Angie, I don’t know.”
‘He gave me the calculation and he said you traveled 1,500,000 miles on Amtrak.
‘The fact is, I’d probably take Angie’s word before I’d take the word of what the article said,’ Biden said.
June 29, 2021
Biden told the same story during a June 29 speech at La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility in La Crosse, Wisconsin
President Biden made an appearance at La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to tout his bipartisan infrastructure framework.
During his remarks, he once again told the story of being ‘Mr. Amtrak.’
‘Now, I know I’m “Mr. Amtrak”,’ the president said.
‘I’ve traveled over 2 million miles on Amtrak. I commuted every day. I get it.
‘I know you think I’m nuts. But after my wife and daughter were killed, I decided to commute back and forth to Delaware.
‘It was a 257-mile roundtrip.’
Biden continued: ‘I’ll tell you a real quick story. I shouldn’t bore you with it.
‘But, you know, the Secret Service – they’re the best in the world – doesn’t like you taking Amtrak because it stops too many times – the train.
‘They want me flying home in the small jets that were available as Vice President.
‘And that cost a lot of money, so I would go home on Fridays, you know, because my mom was passing away.
‘I’d go home on Amtrak. And they published – they keep fastidious record of the miles you travel in an air- in a Air Force aircraft as President and Vice President.
‘And toward the end of my term, a headline came out in all of the papers: “Biden travels…” — I think it was 1.3 or 1.7 million miles on Air Force planes.
‘And so, I’m getting on the train on that Friday, and these guys who all became my family – all – the conductor.
‘And a guy named Angelo Negri came up, and he goes, “Joey, baby!”
‘Grabs my cheek like that. And I thought they were going to shoot him. I really did.
‘I said, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no. He’s a friend.”
‘He was like, “What the hell.”
‘And he said, “Big deal, Joey. A million…” – whatever it was – “…three-hundred thousand miles. You know how many miles you’ve traveled on Amtrak, Joey?”
‘And I said, “No, Ang. I don’t.”
‘And he said, “At that retirement dinner, we calculated it. We estimated 127 days a year, 250 miles back and forth, 3 — 36 years, then as Vice President.
‘”Joey, you traveled more on Amtrak.”
‘Well, I – and when they named a station after me in my city, someone complained that Biden is using his influence.
‘I said, “Hell, they should name the whole Northeast Corridor after me.”
‘I’ve [traveled] more than anybody else.’
September 21, 2021
President Joe Biden holds a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Oval Office at the White House on September 21. Biden relayed the same story to the British premier
The president told the same story during a one-on-one meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the Oval Office of the White House.
At the beginning of their meeting, Biden and Johnson exchanged pleasantries and joked about their shared love of trains.
The prime minister took the Amtrak train down from New York City, where he was at the annual UN General Assembly meeting, to meet with Biden at the White House.
‘They love you,’ Johnson told Biden of Amtrak. ‘You are a living deity on Amtrak, I can tell you.’
The president bragged how he had ridden over 2 million miles on the nation’s train system.
‘Well, they should. I’ve traveled more on Amtrak,’ he said. ‘If I were conductor I’d be number one in seniority.’
Biden then shared the oft-repeated story with Johnson.
‘I got to tell you a quick story that has nothing to do with anything,’ Biden told the British premier.
He told Johnson that ‘the Secret Service didn’t like me traveling on Amtrak because there were too many options for people to cause trouble along the way.
‘But I insisted I do it.’
‘One day,’ Biden continued, ‘they put in the newspaper: “Biden travels 1 million …” – and I think – don’t hold me to the exact number – I think it was – “… 350,000 miles on Air Force Two”.’
The president then told Johnson that whenever he hopped on the train home to Delaware, he was met by ‘a guy, who was the number three guy from New Jersey in seniority as a conductor, [who] walked up and grabbed me and he goes like this: “Joey, baby!” [and] grabs my cheek.
‘I thought the Secret Service was going to shoot him.’