Ladies and gentlemen, we may have a new winner in the sweepstakes for the most creative, verbally byzantine way to say Joe Biden is lying without saying he’s lying.
This, like Ron Burgundy, is kind of a big deal. In fact, nobody’s really managed to best The Atlantic’s Mark Bowden for 13 years; back in a 2010 profile of the then-vice president which pointed out the many, many lies of Joseph Robinette Biden, Bowden politely said he “has the limber storyteller’s tendency to stretch.”
Right. There isn’t a yogi in India limber enough to make that metaphor work.
The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler doesn’t quite have the skill of verbal blandishment that Mr. Bowden does, but the paper’s chief “fact-checker” (imagine me on the other end of the screen putting the most emphatic air-quotes you’ve ever seen around that compound word and you can get an idea of how ludicrous I believe that title to be) is fantastic, when a Democrat is involved, at “checking” a fact and softening the language around it so that — even if it’s a lie of Brobdingnagian proportions — it sounds like the most innocent of mistakes.
So, dear reader, steel yourself for this Kessler “fact-check” headline and try not to laugh: “Biden loves to retell certain stories. Some aren’t credible.”
This “fact-check” came after the president finally visited the fire-devastated Hawaiian island of Maui, where, as Kessler noted, “Biden recalled how lightning had once struck a pond outside his home, sparking a fire. ‘To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ’67 Corvette and my cat,’ he said, adding, ‘all kidding aside.’”
Now, let’s forget about the propriety of talking about maybe losing your Corvette and your cat when, as of Wednesday, 115 people were confirmed dead in the Lahaina fires and an unknown number were still missing, according to USA Today. Not only was it insensitive, it was also a lie.
“Contemporary news reports on the house fire do not match his telling of it, fanning criticism that he had lied to a vulnerable audience,” Kessler wrote.
As Kessler went on to note, Biden tends to try and tell stories that too-neatly connect with certain audiences.
“Sometimes the stories turn out to be largely true, such as the one about a confrontation as a 19-year-old lifeguard with a gang leader named Corn Pop. But others fall short,” Kessler wrote. “As president, Biden has continued a tradition of embellishing his personal tales in ways that cannot be verified or are directly refuted by contemporary accounts.”
That emphasis is mine. That’s the new winner. Move over, “limber storyteller’s tendency to stretch.” Biden likes “embellishing his personal tales in ways that cannot be verified or are directly refuted by contemporary accounts.”
Which is also called, in less verbose, deliberately tortuous terms, lying.
Twitter was not impressed with this linguistic prestidigitation on Kessler’s part: