White House Suggests Biden Misspoke When He Implied Cannibals Devoured His Uncle

The White House suggested President Joe Biden misspoke when he implied that cannibals feasted on his uncle after a plane crash during World War II.

Twice this week, President Biden told a story of his uncle, 2nd Lt. Ambrose Finnegan, who served in the U.S. Army Air Forces when his plane crashed in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

“He got shot down in an area where there were a lot of cannibals in New Guinea at the time,” he said at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh.

He said they never recovered his body, but that parts of the plane were later discovered.

According to the official report provided by the federal Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 2nd Lt. Finnegan was a passenger on a Douglas A-20 Havoc, a bomber and reconnaissance aircraft that “for some unknown reason was forced to ditch in the ocean off the north coast of New Guinea.”

“Both engines failed at low altitude, and the aircraft’s nose hit the water hard,” the report stated. “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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The report added that an aerial search “found no trace” of the other two crew members, 2nd Lt. Finnegan, or the aircraft.

President Biden first told the story after visiting a war memorial where his uncle was honored in Scranton, Pennsylvania, then later at a United Steelworkers union headquarters in Pittsburgh.

“And my uncle—they called him Ambrose. Instead of ‘Brosie,’ they called him ‘Bosie,’” President Biden said. “My Uncle Bosie was a hell of an athlete, they tell me, when he was a kid. And he became an Army Air Corps, before the Air Force came along. He flew those single-engine planes as reconnaissance over war zones.”

Targets Trump

President Biden later targeted former President Donald Trump by alluding to a 2020 report by The Atlantic which relied on anonymous sources alleging that he canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Paris in 2018 because it was “filled with losers” who were “suckers” for getting killed, a statement President Trump denied.

“I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes,” President Trump was reported to say in response. “There is nobody that respects them more. No animal—nobody—what animal would say such a thing?”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn’t say whether President Biden’s story was true or false, but instead returned to The Atlantic’s story.

“The president highlighted his uncle’s story as he made the case for honoring our sacred commitment to equip those we send to war and to take care of them and their families when they come home,” she said. “And as he reiterated, the last thing American veterans are are ’suckers’ or ‘losers.’”

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates also suggested President Biden misspoke and again pointed back to The Atlantic story, which relied on an anonymous source with no documentation or audio.

It’s not the first time President Biden has embellished the past. The New York Post recalled other stories the president has told, such as the claim that he was detained while trying to visit Nelson Mandela and that he graduated at the top of his class with a full academic scholarship, claims that were later proven to be false.

‘They Wouldn’t Just Eat Any White Man’

PNG scholars and officials chastised President Biden’s remarks, telling The Guardian that the implications mischaracterize the region completely.

Michael Kabuni, a political science professor at the University of PNG, agreed that cannibalism had been practiced in the past in some situations, but he said “they wouldn’t just eat any white men that fell from the sky.”

Cannibalism was more of a religious ceremony, he said, in which deceased relatives were consumed out of respect and to prevent decomposition.

“By taking it out of context, and implying that your [uncle] jumps out of the plane and somehow we think it’s a good meal is unacceptable,” he said.

Despite misconceptions, cannibalism wasn’t practiced because of a lack of food either, he said, adding that archaeological evidence reveals that the custom goes back 10,000 years.

Then, there is the fact that approximately 79,000 World War II soldiers who served in that region remain missing.

“They spread from south-east Asia to the Korean peninsula and Europe,” Mr. Kabuni said. “What is [Biden] implying? All 79,000 that were never found were eaten?”

Allen Bird, the governor of the East Sepik Province of PNG, said this could have been a story President Biden heard while growing up that “stuck with him.”

“I’m lost for words, actually,” Mr. Bird said. “I don’t feel offended. It’s hilarious, really.”

A professor of economics at the University of PNG, Maholopa Laveil, called President Biden’s remarks counterproductive considering he canceled a trip to the region last year.

“It paints PNG in a bad light,” Mr. Laveil said. “PNG has already had a lot of negative press around riots and tribal fighting and this doesn’t help, and [the claims are] unsubstantiated. For a U.S. president to say that—particularly after a lot of deals have been struck with PNG and the work they’ve been doing in the Pacific—even off the cuff, I don’t think that should have been said at all.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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