President Biden repeated a dubious claim about the death of his son, Beau Biden, during a call with the parents of a U.S. service member who was recently killed in an attack on a base in Jordan near the border with Syria.
While speaking on Tuesday to the parents of 24-year-old Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders, who lost her life in an Iran-backed drone strike this month in northeast Jordan that killed three service members total and injured 25 others, Biden said he lost his son to the war in Iraq.
During the call, which was first shared by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Biden told Shawn Sanders and Oneida Oliver-Sanders that their daughter was being posthumously promoted to sergeant.
“Oh wow, that is the best news I’ve heard today, thank you so much,” Oliver-Sanders said as she and her husband were brought to tears. “You don’t know how much that means to us.”
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“Oh, well, I tell you what, it means a lot to me,” Biden responded. “My son spent a year in Iraq; that’s how I lost him.”
In contrast to his claims, Beau Biden died from glioblastoma, the most common form of brain cancer, in May 2015 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Beau served a tour in Iraq from 2008 to 2009.
President Biden maintains that his son’s illness may have been caused by toxic burn pits in Iraq, but on several occasions, he spoke about his son dying in Iraq.
“I lost my son — we lost our son in Iraq,” Biden claimed in June 2023 during a speech at Nash Community College in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Biden also made the same claim about his son’s death a month earlier, in May 2023, while speaking to Marines stationed in Japan.
Biden made the same false claim about his son Beau in 2022, telling a crowd in Colorado that his son “lost his life in Iraq.”
“I say this as a father of a man who won the Bronze Star, the Conspicuous Service Medal, and lost his life in Iraq,” Biden said during a speech near Vail, Colorado, at the time.
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Biden also referenced his son in a 2019 speech. “[Because] of exposure to burn pits, in my view — I can’t prove it yet — he came back with stage four glioblastoma. Eighteen months he lived, knowing he was going to die.”
Sanders was one of three U.S. service members who died during a Jan. 28 drone strike that targeted Army soldiers based in northern Jordan near the Syrian border at a base known as Tower 22, which has been in support of the counter-ISIS mission for year.
The two other service members who lost their lives in the attack were 46-year-old Sergeant William Jerome Rivers, of Carrollton, Georgia, and 23-year-old Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, of Savannah, Georgia. The three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade in Fort Moore, Georgia.
Highlighting the president’s call with Sanders’ parents, Curtis Houck, the managing editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center, questioned “the nerve of” Biden to invoke the name and death of his son.
“Of course Biden called one of the three families who lost their child in the Iran-backed drone attack annnnd he made it all about Beau, claiming he’s been in their exact same position,” Houck wrote in a post to X. “The nerve of this guy….”
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The White House said President Biden was briefed Sunday morning by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer about the attack, which marked a significant escalation as it’s the first time U.S. troops have been killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7.
Biden promised on Sunday to “hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner [of] our choosing” but said the U.S. wasn’t seeking to get into another conflict in the Middle East.
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie Jeffrey Clark, Danielle Wallace, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.