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Biden repeats football claim against West Point graduates at commencement address

Biden repeats football claim against West Point graduates at commencement address

 


President Biden repeated a claim about turning down an appointment at the US Naval Academy, where he supposedly wanted to play football, during his speech at West Point on Saturday.

Biden told West Point graduates that the Republican Sen. J Caleb Boggswhom he defeated to become a U.S. senator had him “appointed” to the Naval Academy years before they ran against each other in 1972.

The president said before his interview: “I found out two days earlier they had a quarterback named Roger Staubach, and a halfback named Joe Bellino. And I said, I'm not going there. I went to Delaware. No joke.”

It's the same story Biden told Naval academy graduated in 2022, when he claimed he was admitted to the military institution in 1965 but refused to attend. When Biden told the story Saturday, however, he did not offer a date.

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President Biden at West Point, early 2024President Biden at West Point, early 2024

President Joe Biden speaks to the Class of 2024 during commencement exercises at West Point on May 25, 2024 in West Point, New York. The West Point graduation ceremony is held at Michie Stadium and includes approximately 1,000 cadets graduating and enlisting as second lieutenants.

Staubach, a Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Famer, played his first game for Navy in 1962. Bellino, the first Naval Academy player to win the Heisman Trophy, played his last game in January 1961.

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Biden played for the high school team at Archmere Academy in Claymont, graduating in 1961. By his senior year of high school, he was a successful wide receiver, scoring ten touchdowns in eight games. The team remained undefeated that year, Yahoo Sports reported in 2021.

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Biden attended the University of Delaware, graduating in 1965. He reportedly played briefly on the 1961 freshman team but did not complete the season.

Roger Staubach during Super BowlRoger Staubach during Super Bowl

Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys throws the football during the Super Bowl game against the Denver Broncos in New Orleans.

“In almost every group, I was the leader,” Biden wrote in his autobiography “Promises to Keep.” “I was the leading scorer on our undefeated and undefeated football team my senior year, and I did not lack confidence on the field.”

Staubach graduated from the Naval Academy in 1964 before leaving to fight in Vietnam and later returned to play 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Bellino, who also fought in Vietnam and had a brief NFL career, graduated in 1961, at least four years before Biden claimed he was considering playing football for the Midshipmen.

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RNC Research, an X account run by the Republican National Committee's rapid response team, called Biden's claim questionable.

“He has repeated this lie many times and there is still no record of this ever happening,” the RNC wrote.

Biden's speech at West Point marked the second time the president has participated in the military academy graduation ceremony. He previously delivered the 2016 commencement address as vice president.

Source of original article: Biden repeats football claim against West Point graduates at commencement address

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