President Biden said Monday that he didn’t want to compare the most lethal and devastating wildfire in modern U.S. history to the time that lightning struck his home in Delaware and caused a minor fire.
Then he made the comparison anyway.
Speaking to Maui residents after touring the aftermath of the wildfires that destroyed about 2,000 homes and businesses, killing at least 114 people, Mr. Biden used the occasion to embellish once again the damage to his home in 2004.
“I don’t want to compare difficulties, but we have a little sense, Jill and I, of what it’s like to lose a home,” the president told an audience at a community center in Maui.
He recounted how lightning struck a pond near their Wilmington home, struck a wire and entered their residence through air ducts. Mr. Biden said he was a guest on “Meet the Press” at the time of the fire.
“To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ’67 Corvette, and my cat,” Mr. Biden said with a chuckle.
He praised firefighters who “ran into flames to save my wife, save my family. Not a joke.”
Addressing people who have lost all their possessions and are still searching for hundreds of the missing, the president said his own experience resulted with him losing virtually nothing out of pocket.
“We were insured. We did not have any problem,” Mr. Biden said. “But being out of our home for the better part of a year was difficult. I can only imagine what it’s like to lose your home completely, burned to the ground.”
The president has told the story several times before, and critics have called his embellishments a lie.
A 2004 report from the Associated Press about the lightning strike that hit the Bidens’ home in Delaware said it caused “a small fire … contained to the kitchen,” and quoted a fire official saying that heavy smoke was brought under control in 20 minutes.
In New Hampshire a few years ago, Mr. Biden said his wife “got out safely” during the incident.
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