In a comment The Washington Post mocked as “almost like counting a refueling stop as a visit to a country,” President Joe Biden told a CNN town hall Thursday night that he had been to America’s southern border.
During the event, Biden was asked, “Given that it’s nearly been a year into your campaign, why haven’t you been to the southern border of our country?”
After host Anderson Cooper nudged Biden into giving an answer, Biden offered one that sent the fact-checkers into overdrive, according to CNN.
“I’ve been there before, and I haven’t — I mean, I know it well. I guess I should go down. But the — but the whole point of it is: I haven’t had a whole hell of lot of time to get down,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript of his comments.
WATCH: Joe Biden says he hasn’t had “time” to visit the southern border, says “I guess I should go down” pic.twitter.com/mqxgWGgrfb
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 22, 2021
“I’ve been spending time going around looking at the $900 billion worth of damage done by — by hurricanes and floods and — and weather, and traveling around the world,” he said.
“But I plan on — now, my wife, Jill, has been down. She’s been on both sides of the river. She’s seen the circumstances there. She’s looked into those places,” he said.
When the Post fact-checked the claim, it noted that in 2008, Biden released a long list of people he had met with in various places, “But despite that long history, we cannot find evidence that Biden at one point made a visit to the southern border.”
Do you think Joe Biden has no idea if he was ever at the border?
“But after digging some more, we discovered that Biden briefly drove past the border while on a campaign swing in 2008,” the Post reported, describing an October 2008 trip from El Paso, Texas, through New Mexico.
“The drive took Biden along a route that for a few minutes hugs the border of the United States and Mexico,” the Post reported, eventually deciding not to rate the claim false.
Biden says he hasn’t had time to go to the border.
He’s had time to go to Delaware almost every weekend.
He had time to go for a maskless dinner last week.
Can someone tell him there are kids at the border so he will go?
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) October 22, 2021
White House press secretary Jen Psaki tried to go with that story and build upon it.
“He did drive through the border when he was on the campaign trail in 2008. And he is certainly familiar with the fact — and it stuck with him — with the fact that in El Paso, the border goes right through the center of town,” Psaki said during her media briefing, according to CNN.
Psaki denigrated a visit by Biden to the border as a “photo op.”
“There is a focus right now on a photo op. The President does not believe a photo op is the same as solutions,” she said.
Joe Biden said he’s too busy to visit the border.
But he wasn’t too busy to take a beach vacation in the middle of his chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) October 22, 2021
CNN’s fact-checking of Biden’s town hall performance noted that Jill Biden’s border visit was in December 2019 as part of the campaign for the White House.
CNN further noted that although Biden cited foreign travel as a reason not to visit the border, he has made only one trip abroad.