Biden's suggestion that his uncle was eaten by cannibals ridiculed by critics

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‘A basic mistake’: Tepid pushback on Biden’s claim his uncle was eaten by cannibals flamed by conservatives

Conservatives are devouring Biden's tall tale on social media.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Apr 18, 2024

President Joe Biden suggested on Wednesday that his uncle, 2nd Lieut. Ambrose Finnegan, was eaten by cannibals in New Guinea after his plane was shot down in 1944. The outlandish claim is not supported by military records—which show the plane was lost over the Pacific—and is being widely mocked online.

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“He got shot down in an area where there were a lot of cannibals at the time,” Biden told reporters after visiting a war memorial that bears Finnegan’s name. “They never recovered his body, but the government went back when I went down there and they checked and found some parts of the plane.”

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He repeated the claim again later that day, telling United Steelworkers union members in Pittsburgh that Finnegan “got shot down in New Guinea and they never found the body because there used to be—there were a lot of cannibals, for real, in that part of New Guinea.”

But the Pentagon’s POW and MIA accounting agency tells a different story.

“For unknown reasons, this plane was forced to ditch in the ocean off the north coast of New Guinea,” the agency’s account states. “Both engines failed at low altitude, and the aircraft’s nose hit the water hard. Three men failed to emerge from the sinking wreck and were lost in the crash. One crew member survived and was rescued by a passing barge.”

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It adds that no remains of the three killed crew members nor the missing aircraft were recovered.

Biden’s apparent editorialization drew multiple fact-checks, including from the Associated Press.

“Biden is off on details of his uncle’s WWII death as he calls Trump unfit to lead the military,” reads the AP headline. The story similarly noted the difference in accounts from the Pentagon.

Andrew Bates, a White House spokesperson, did not address the discrepancy in a statement to the AP, but said that “President Biden is proud of his uncle’s service in uniform,” and that Finnegan “lost his life when the military aircraft he was on crashed in the Pacific after taking off near New Guinea.”

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Both Biden’s tale and the AP’s wording of its fact check have come under fire from critics online.

“‘Off on the details’ JFC. Did Biden at least leave a $20 on your nightstand after?” one user said in response to the AP story.

“Just a little ‘off.’ Minor details. A basic mistake that anyone could make,” quipped someone else. “Let he who hasn’t falsely claimed that their uncle was eaten by cannibals cast the first stone.”

“‘Off on details’ — the ‘detail’ in question is whether his uncle was eaten by cannibals,” noted another person.

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Other users mocked Biden’s tall tale and joked about other hypothetical falsehoods he could say.

“My uncle Tuskegee dropped the A bomb and then was shot down by the Japs,” wrote one conservative commentator. “We never heard from him because the natives ate him.”

“Joe Biden’s uncle Ambrose Finnegan was eaten by a cannibal named Corn Pop. Corn Pop was a bad dude,” joked someone else.

“‘My son was also a cannibal’ – Joe Biden, probably,” another person posted.

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But another user offered a different assessment, noting that former President Donald Trump has been caught in lies and exaggerations of his own.

“We’re just gonna have 2 grandpas telling fake stories until November huh?” he said. “Trump telling us fake Gettysburg stories ‘never fight uphill’ and Biden telling us fake WWII uncle eaten by cannibal stories.”

He added: “lol whoever gives us a dollar or a coin from behind our ear wins by a slim margin.”

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*First Published: Apr 18, 2024, 10:15 am CDT
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