Biden repeats debunked story at Naval Academy graduation

By Jen Krausz on
 May 27, 2024

President Joe Biden repeated a debunked story about being appointed to play football at the Naval Academy during a commencement speech he made at the U.S. Military Academy graduation ceremony at West Point on Saturday. 

“I was appointed by the fella I ran against when I was 29 years old to the Naval Academy. I was one of 10. I wanted to play football,” Biden said in his remarks.

“And I’d found out two days earlier they had a quarterback named Roger Staubach and a halfback named Joe Bellino — I said, ‘I’m not going there.’ I went to Delaware. Not a joke,’ the president said.

He has told the story many times before, including at the 2022 Naval Academy graduation.

The facts don't line up

The only problem is, the story couldn't possibly be true. While Biden didn't give a date during this year's ceremony, in 2022 he said it happened in 1965.

Staubach graduated in 1964, leaving the academy before Biden said the appointment happened. Bellino graduated in 1961, also before any of Biden's story could have happened.

The two were the only Navy players to win the Heisman Trophy.

Biden did play football at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware and was a standout until his graduation in 1961.

He attended the University of Delaware but only played football for part of his freshman year.

The dates don't line up

The dates just don't line up with his story, unless in his diminished mental state he meant to say he was appointed in 1961.

Even a simple mixup of the dates, which would be somewhat understandable at his age, doesn't make sense with the other part of the story, however.

Biden said that the person who appointed him was James Caleb Boggs, who was a Republican Senator from Delaware from 1961 until 1973, when he was unseated by Biden.

As Biden recounted the rest of the story, he said that Boggs told him during their last debate that he regretted that Biden had not accepted the appointment at the time.

"Had Joe Biden gone to the Naval Academy when I appointed him, he’d still have seven months left on and wouldn’t be able to run,” Biden said Boggs said.

But on what timeline would Biden have been attending the Naval Academy 11 years after his high school graduation? There's no way to spin this as just forgetting dates--it could not have happened anything like Biden said it did.

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