Biden repeats false story about Amtrak conductor for a SEVENTH time

Biden repeats false story about encounter with Amtrak conductor friend for a SEVENTH time at launch of new manufacturing initiative in Ohio

  • Biden, 79, was speaking at a manufacturing event in Ohio with Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman 
  • The president once again recalled the encounter with a man named Angelo Negri 
  • In this re-telling, it happens early during his vice presidency, before Biden’s mother passed away in January 2010 
  • President Biden often tells this story as an attempt to emphasize the need for infrastructure repairs and funding for America’s rail system 
  • A key issue with the tale is that Negri retired as an Amtrak conductor in 1993, according to his 2014 obituary
  • That is long before Biden – the oldest man to ever be elected or serve as president – was elected vice president in 2008 

President Biden repeated a story about an encounter with an Amtrak conductor friend for the seventh time 

Biden, 79, was speaking at the launch of the Additive Manufacturing Forward initiative in Ohio with Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman when he recalled the encounter with rail worker Angelo Negri.

He appears to shift the date of the meeting from his last retelling, where he claimed it happened in 2015, to before the death of his mother in January 2010, when he was Vice President.

Negri retired as an Amtrak conductor in 1993, according to his 2014 obituary. That is long before Biden was elected vice president in 2008. In one re-telling, Biden claimed to have hit the milestone in 2015 – a year after Negri’s death.

On Saturday, Biden opened the story by addressing Brown in particular: ‘You’d get a kick out of this, Sherrod.’

‘I was – the Secret Service doesn’t like me taking the train because it stops too many places,’ he said. ‘And so I was riding home though to see my mom who was living with me because she was in hospice.’ 

‘And on a Friday, a guy named Angelo Negri, a conductor, senior conductor, walked up and said, ‘Joey, baby!’ – grabbed my cheek. I though he was gonna shoot him. He goes, ‘Joey!’ I said, ‘Ang!’ I said, ‘He’s okay, he’s a friend.’ True story.’ 

President Joe Biden speaks to an audience at United Performance Metals on May 6, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, left, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, second from left, listen as Biden tells the story again

Biden added: ‘[Angelo] said, ‘What’s all this I read in the paper? You travel over a million miles on Air Force planes.”

‘Every single mile the vice president or president travels, they keep a public record of on an aircraft, an American aircraft,’ Biden said. 

‘And he said, ‘The boys and I were at the retirement dinner up in Jersey. So we figured it out. Average 222 days a year, 36 years, total of 269 miles every day. Joey,’ – and I don’t know whether it’s true or not – he said, ‘1,200,000 miles, not counted as vice president.’ So I know a lot about trains.’

President Biden often tells this story as an attempt to emphasize the need for infrastructure repairs and funding for America’s rail system.  

Biden is notoriously fond of train travel and re-tells similar, potentially fabricated, stories about his time on the rails often

Biden, seen here getting off an Amtrak train as the Senator from Delaware in 1988

Biden has long spoken of his time commuting daily from Washington, DC, to his home in Delaware when he was a US senator. Then-Senator Biden is seen above on the Amtrak metro liner in September 1988

Negri’s stepdaughter, Olga Betz, told CNN in June that her stepfather and Biden were indeed friends, though she could not confirm details of the president’s story.

She said Negri ‘adored’ Biden and spoke of how he was ‘very thoughtful and personable with the conductors; knew them all by name.’ 

According to Betz, Negri would go to retirement dinners for other Amtrak conductors, which may have necessitated travel to Washington. 

But since he died in 2014, it is impossible for Biden to have spoken to Negri in ‘year seven of his vice presidency’ – which was 2015.

As well, Biden’s mother, Catherine ‘Jean’ Biden, passed away in 2010 at the age of 92 – more than five years before Joe surpassed the 1 million miles flown milestone.

Further casting doubt on the account, Biden’s own office celebrated his one millionth mile on Air Force Two in 2015. 

It was the fourth time Biden repeated the false story as president. He also told the story when he was running for the presidency after locking up the Democratic Party’s nomination in October last year.

‘Amtrak is here, and they can tell you…you should name half the line after me,’ Biden, who has been nicknamed ‘Amtrak Joe,’ joked during a speech at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton on Wednesday.

Biden claimed that he was congratulated by an Amtrak conductor for amassing more than 2 million miles by rail dating back to his time as US senator from Delaware. Then-Senator Joe Biden is seen above (center) in Wilmington, Delaware in this file photo of him launching an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1987. From left: Son Hunter Biden; First Lady Jill Biden; daughter Ashley Biden; and late son Beau Biden


The debunked Amtrak story that Joe Biden told in Ohio on Friday was the seventh time in the last year-plus – and sixth 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.’ 

October 20, 2021

The president recalled the encounter with Angelo Negri during an appearance touting his ‘Build Back Better’ infrastructure plan in his native hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

In this retelling, Biden explained that when he was vice president, government officials kept track of the mileage that he traveled via air. 

He then said that ‘seven years into my tenure as vice president,’ he was informed that he had surpassed the 1 million mile mark in flying on Air Force Two – which is the vice president’s official aircraft.

According to Biden, after reaching the milestone, he was accosted by an old friend, Amtrak conductor Negri, who was adamant that his Amtrak milestone was far more impressive. 

‘Joey, baby!’ the president recalled Negri telling him.

‘I thought the Secret Service was going to shoot him.’

Biden says he told Secret Service agents: ‘No, no, no, he’s good. He’s good.’

After Biden flew some 1.2million miles, the president claims Negri sarcastically told him: ‘Big deal!’

‘You know how many miles you did Amtrak?’ Negri is said to have told then-Vice President Biden.

‘No, Ang, I don’t have any idea, pal,’ Biden says he responded.

Biden says Negri told him that the president amassed more than 2 million miles on Amtrak going back to his days as a US senator representing Delaware.

December 8, 2021 

In the sixth retelling, at an event in Kansas City, Missouri, Biden the encounter happened when he visited his sick mother, who died in January 2010, less than one year after he became vice president, contradicting the at least three other occasions, Biden said it happened much later in his second term. 

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