FACT CHECK: Joe Biden Repeats False Story About Deceased Amtrak Conductor

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

President Joe Biden claimed in a Nov. 6 speech that he had a conversation with Amtrak conductor Angelo Negri about traveling more than one million miles as vice president on Air Force aircraft.

Verdict: False

Biden did not reach the one million miles traveled mark until 2015. Negri died in 2014 and retired from Amtrak in 1993.

Fact Check: 

Biden traveled to Delaware Nov. 6, where he announced funding for train projects in the Northwest Corridor, according to Delaware Online. During his remarks, he repeated an anecdote about a conversation he had with Negri about traveling one million miles on Air Force aircraft.

From the White House transcript:

“When I was vice president, I flew over a million miles on Air Force Two, but I traveled further than that on Amtrak over the years.  I remember one of the conductors, when I was going home — Secret Service is wonderful.  They really are.  But they’d rather you not tra- — travel Amtrak — it’s not Amtrak — rail — because it has to stop so damn many times, and there are so many options for people to do things that they don’t want to have done.

So, when I was coming home to see my mom and I just — she was living with us at the time; my dad passed away.  (Laughs.)  And I got on the train on a Friday, and — I won’t get him into complete trouble; I’ll just tell his first name.  He was number two in seniority at the time, Angelo.  And Ang came up to me as I was walking, and he said, ‘Joey.’  And he grabbed my cheek and he said, ‘Joey, baby.’ And he said, ‘All this st-‘ — because I — they had published in the newspaper that I had traveled 1,200,000 miles on Air Force planes as vice president.  They published that on a regular basis.

He said, ‘Big’ — I won’t quote him exactly, but he said, ‘Big deal, Joey.’  (Laughter.)  And I said, ‘What’s it mean, Ang?’ And he said, ‘Look…’  He said, ‘We just had the retirement dinner up in Newark.’  He said, ‘You know how many miles you traveled on Amtrak?’  And I said, “No.”  He said, ‘A million — I think it was — 320,000 miles.

And I said, ‘How did you figure that?  He said, ‘Well, 118 days a year, almost 300 miles a day, 36 years, plus as vi-‘ –then he went on, the whole deal.  And I said, ‘I believe you, Ang.  Let me get on the train, will you?’ (Laughter.)”

This story, though, is false. The Atlantic reported in 2015 that Biden said he traveled his one-millionth mile as vice president. While it is true that Biden and Negri were friends, Negri retired from Amtrak in 1993, nearly two decades before this alleged conversation about Biden traveling over one million miles as vice president could have occurred, according to CNN.

Further adding to the dubiousness of this alleged conversation is that Biden said he traveled 1.2 million miles as vice president in January 2016. He crossed the million miles mark a “few months” before February 2016, according to official Vice Presidential Photographer David Lienemann in a post on Medium. Negri died in 2014, according to his obituary.

The New York Post reported that it was the 12th time Biden had repeated the anecdote during his presidency. He first told the story in 2021, according to the outlet. The Associated Press debunked the story in 2021. (RELATED: Donald Trump Claims Sidney Powell Was Not His Lawyer)

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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