President Joe Biden mentioned his travels through war zones and the Middle East during a summit about veterans health care at the Delaware National Guard headquarters.
The facility is named for Biden’s late son Beau, who served in Iraq with the Guard.
“I’ve been in and out — not as a, obviously, combatant — but in and out of Afghanistan, Iraq and those areas, 38, 39 times,” he said Dec. 16. “Not as president; only twice as president.”
Biden’s description of his travels to the two countries has not held up under scrutiny.
In his 2022 State of the Union address, Biden said: “I’ve been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 40 times.”
We rated his statement False. The actual number was about half that, including visits while he was vice president and senator.
He had not been to either country as president before that March 1 speech, and that remains unchanged.
The White House referred us to the National Security Council, which did not reply to our requests for information.
Afghanistan has become more unstable during Biden’s time as president, given that U.S. troops were at war there until he oversaw the completion of their withdrawal. The country fell into chaos and Taliban control in August 2021, as the U.S. completed its withdrawal, begun under former President Donald Trump.
In our earlier review of Biden’s travels, we found the last time Biden visited Iraq was in 2016, when he was vice president.
His last trip to Afghanistan was in 2011 for meetings about drawing down U.S. forces.
As for Biden’s reference to “those areas,” Biden has visited the Middle East twice as president.
In July, Biden took a trip to Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia that included a summit in Saudi Arabia for Arab leaders. High gasoline prices in the U.S. at the time were believed to be one reason for the visit to Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest oil producers. Biden also met with Israeli officials to maintain U.S.-Israel ties and with Palestinan officials for diplomatic reasons.
In November, Biden went to Cairo and addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia share a border. Another Middle Eastern nation, Iran, shares a border with Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is more than 2,000 miles away from Egypt.
Biden said he has been to “Afghanistan, Iraq and those areas” twice as president.
As president, he has not visited either country.
We rate Biden’s statement False.