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Did Biden lie about being appointed to the Naval Academy?

President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 29, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
May 31, 2022

During a speech on Friday at the United States Naval Academy’s Class of 2022 Graduation and Commissioning Ceremony, President Joe Biden claimed that he was appointed to the military school in 1965. However, the claim seems unlikely given the clash with other confirmed details of his life at the time.

Biden said he was appointed to the academy by then-Delaware Sen. J. Caleb Boggs in 1965, but that is the same year Biden graduated from the University of Delaware – and the Naval Academy does not offer advanced degrees, the New York Post reported.

“I was told the Class of ’72 is here. I was appointed to the academy in 1965 by a senator who I was running against in 1972 — never planned it that way. I wasn’t old enough to be sworn in. I was only 29 years old when I was running,” Biden said.

“He was a fine man. His name is J. Caleb Boggs,” he continued. “I didn’t come to the academy because I wanted to be a football star. And you had a guy named [Roger] Staubach and [Joe] Bellino here. So, I went to Delaware.”

“But all kidding aside, the best line of the debate was after it’s all over, the announcer, the questioner — who was a good guy, but supported my opponent, who was a good man as well, I might add — and he said, ‘Sen. Boggs, is there anything else you want to say?’ And he said, ‘Yes, just one thing.’ And he took the microphone. He said, ‘You know, Joe, if you accepted my commission to the — my appointment to the academy,’ he said, ‘you’d still have one year and three months’ active duty and I’d have no problems right now,’” Biden added.

Biden’s autobiography does not include any story about being appointed to the Naval Academy, and given the U.S. military’s involvement in the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s, Biden would likely have deployed with the Navy upon graduation.

Instead, Biden received five student draft deferments while attending the University of Delaware, as well as three years while studying at Syracuse University College of Law, a USA Today fact check confirmed.

Upon graduating law school in 1968, Biden was reportedly judged as being unable to serve in the military due to childhood asthma. Notably, his autobiography also fails to mention the affliction when recounting his time as a football player or his work as a lifeguard.

Additionally, asthma is not mentioned in a report released by Biden’s doctor late last year.