FACT CHECK

Joe Biden Tries to Rewrite the History of His Support for the War in Iraq

Biden told NPR that 'Immediately, that moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment.' That's not true

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden answering questions from reporters after a campaign stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, July 12, 2019.
\ BRIAN SNYDER/ REUTERS

Former Vice President Joe Biden tried to rewrite the history of his support for the war in Iraq this week. Here is a look at Biden’s statement and where it misstates the facts.

JOE BIDEN, Democratic presidential candidate, on the Iraq war: “Immediately, that moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment.” — interview Tuesday with NPR.

THE FACTS: Not so. As a senator in 2002, Biden had voted to give President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq, which he did in March 2003 as part of a “shock and awe” bombing campaign with some coalition allies. Four months later, in July, Biden was still expressing strong support for the military engagement.

“Nine months ago, I voted with my colleagues to give the president of the United States of America the authority to use force, and I would vote that way again today,” Biden told the Brookings Institution.

It wasn’t until 2005 that he came around to calling the war a mistake, blaming Bush because “we went too soon. We went without sufficient force. And we went without a plan.”