Is Biden Remembering Things That Didn't Happen, Or Just Blatantly Lying?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

What are the odds that a serial plagiarist like Joe Biden would also be a serial liar? Pretty good, actually, as all but the president’s most ardent supporters are realizing. Biden has been rightfully called out for his fibs about the “success” of the Afghanistan pullout amidst the thousands of American citizens, legal residents, and SIV holders left behind, but now the president is getting called out for lying to Jewish leaders on Thursday by claiming he visited the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after a mass murderer targeted the house of worship in 2018, killing 11 people and wounding 6 others.

“I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” Biden said in a 16-minute virtual address ahead of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, said that Biden did not visit the synagogue in the nearly three years since the anti-Semitic attack.

In a phone interview, Feige, executive director since July 2019, said firmly that “no” Biden didn’t visit, even before taking office when he had a lower public profile as a former vice president and then-Democratic presidential candidate.

There are two possibilities here, and neither of them are good for the American people. Either Joe Biden truly thinks he remembers something that didn’t happen (in which case it’s definitely time for a test of the president’s cognitive abilities), or he has no problem telling a bold-faced lie on camera, and for no other purpose than to try to falsely demonstrate his empathy and compassion.

I can at least understand why Joe Biden is lying about how successful his Afghanistan policy has been. To acknowledge failure is to acknowledge that he and his advisors have made mistakes that have cost lives and will have an impact on this country for decades to come. Most politicians would try to spin away a similar screwup, so while Bide’s lies are still inexcusable, they’re more understandable.

Lying about visiting the Tree of Life synagogue, however, is just plain weird, especially given the fact that Biden didn’t bring up his imaginary visit as part of a push for his gun control efforts. He was giving a virtual address to Jewish rabbis and faith leaders in honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year holiday that begins on Monday. And as it turns out, that wasn’t the only strange comment he made in his remarks. Biden also talked about his daughter marrying a Jewish doctor, and went off on a rambling tangent about not getting to hear his favorite hymn at the wedding.

“We had a chuppah on the altar… Now some of you aren’t gonna like this, but it was co-officiated by a Catholic priest as well as a Jewish rabbi.”

Biden said that his only request was for “my favorite hymn” to be played at the wedding — “On Eagle’s Wings” — but that he was unpleasantly surprised when the ceremony instead played “Hava Nagilah.”

“I only asked one thing… And they played, and my mind is going blank now, what’s the song that is played where everybody is on the chair? I can’t remember it. Anyway, but that’s the song that was played,” Biden recounted.

The president added: “So you know, I don’t know what the hell’s going on here. I just had one little favor, you know, just that they play ‘On Eagle’s Wings’.”

I think the key takeaway from Biden’s remarks is his statement “You know, I don’t know what the hell’s going on here.” You’re not alone, Joe. There are tens of millions of us who wonder the same thing every time we listen to one of your speeches.

Whether Joe Biden’s false tale of visiting the Pittsburgh synagogue was intentional, the result of a decline in his mental functions, or maybe a little of both, the American people deserve better than what we’re getting from the White House. Of course, if Biden stepped down his replacement would be no better, at least in terms of honesty. The unvarnished and uncomfortable truth is that it’s going to be a long three years with this administration in place, no matter if it’s Joe Biden or Kamala Harris in charge.

Oct 21, 2021 9:30 PM ET